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TANKS: 1914-1918 



LIEUT. COLONEL SIR ALBEkT G. STEKN. K.U.K , CM G. t,Frontiifi,„). 



1914-1918 

THE LOG-BOOK OF A PIONEER 



BY LIEUTSNANT-COLONBL 

SIR ALBERT G. STERN 

K.B.E., C*M.G. 11 ■! ■ 



ILLUSTRATED 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO 

MCMXIX 



,*,J 






3 n 4 O 






NOV 10 1943 



K. 




PRIMTKO Ur GrSAT BRITAlir BT 

RtOBARD CLAT & Son, LlMITKD, 

BBUIMWIOB ST., BTAMFORD BT., SB.!, 

AND BVMOAT. tVWrOLK. 



TO 
MY STAFF 



CONTENTS 



I. THE IDEA 

U. KXPERDfENTS 

ni. TRIALS — AND TRIALS 

nr. FIRST ORDERS 

T. TANKS IN ACTION . 



TI. PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 



TII. FIGHTIKO THE WAR OFFICE 



▼ni. THE WAR OFFICE GETS ITS WAY 



DC. THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 



X. THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 



KI. IN CONCLUSION 



APPENDIX 


I • 


ft 


II • 


t* 


in • 


tf 


IV . 


»f 


V . 


tf 


VI . 


•• 


vn • 



1 

15 

85 

61 

91 

109 

141 

178 

188 

208 

248 

258 

255 

275 
276 

277 

291 

294 



Yll 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Lieat-CMonal Sir Albert G. Stem, K.B.E.» C.M.G. . fromHtpieee 

Rolk-Royoe Armoured CSw 8 

Afnfeoured Lorry with S-ponnder gun . • • • B 

Sir Eivtaoe Teonyeoii d*Eyiioourt, BLC.B. ... 

One-ton Ftodreil Meoluiie as ahown to Mr. Churohill in 1916 16 

Big Wheeler (Mock up) 17 

Qraenlutlie Mai^iiitw* ....... 32 

32 

KiOeD-Stimit Meohine 83 

83 

Fbdreil Hand Meohine, fitted with Infantry Shield . 40 

f» »• M »» »• »» • • *^ 

Major W. G. Wilson, C.M.G 41 

Creeping Grip iff^^hin^ coupled together ... 48 

M f* Machine 48 

Killeo-Strait M^i^hiny with wire-cutting apparatus 49 

M „ first fitted with wire-cutting apparatus. 

Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Winston Churohill 49 

Pedrafl Machine buflt at Bath 64 

Sir William Tritton 66 

B«dlook IVmok Bfachine 72 

t* 9* »t ...... . 72 

Tritton's Tkeoch^crosring Machine 78 

»» f» 9f »9 ..... 70 

106 HJE». Tractor 80 

MaJor^Geneial B. D. Swinton, D.8.0 81 

"^ little Willie " Machine 96 

** MoUier/' the Original Tknk 97 

ix 



X LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Tank mounting raUway truck under own power . 104 

Tanks Attack in Thiepval, 1916 105 

The kind of around our Tanks had to work on* everjrwhere 

shell-pooked, 1916 105 

Tanks in Action 105 

T. £. Estienne 112 

The " Schneider *' French Tank .113 

The " Saint Chamond *' French Tank .113 

Renault Tanks 12S 

Brigadier-Qener&l H. J. EUes, C.B., D.S.O., Ministry of 

Information ........ 129 

H. Rioardo, Esq 136 

Tank present by Mr. Eu-Tong-Sen 137 

Mark IV. Machine 144 

Mark V. BCaohine 144 

Scene on the Flanders Battlefield 146 

The state of the grotmd is shown here, owing to the heavy 

rains. A is seen half tinder water .... 145 

Qun-carrying Tank 160 

160 

Some of the many stables where our Tanks are housed 161 

Central Workshops, Tanks Corps. Tanks ready for use 161 

Supply Tank 168 

Offensive on the Cambrai Front. A Landship bringing in 

its prise* a 6*9 German naval gun .... 169 

Tanks out of Action 176 

•. » M 176 

Lieut.-Colonel J. A. Drain, U.S.R 177 

Lieut.-Colonel J. C. F. Fuller, D.S.0 192 

Tank Factory, Neuvy FftiUouz, France .... 19S 

Liberty Tank. Hull made in England, shipped to America, 

and fitted with Liberty Engine .... 200 

A Tank going into Action through our troops . 201 

Whippet Tank 208 

The Canal du Nord. Tanks and wounded going through • 209 

Tank and prisoners with wounded going through the 

cutting m the Oeuial du Nord ..... 209 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xi 



Bomb c^Mrimente 224 

Tanks gomg forwatd to crom the Hindeoborg Line 225 

•• •• »f »t •» »t • • **© 

QeratMui Anti-Tuik Rifle 232 

A GeniMii Anti-Tuik Rifle oon^Mred with a Britiah . . 232 

OennanT^nk 233 

SfiuiieSy Eeq* .....•• 24S 



CHAPTER I 
THE IDEA 



CHAPTER I 

THE IDEA 

August 1914 to February 1915 

My experiences in the great war may be of 
interest to a peaceful world in years to come. 

In July 1914 rumours of war brought up 
threatening clouds in a sky ahready darkened 
by strikes and revolutionary unrest among the 
industrial workers. 

Banking circles in London were already more 
than cautious, and when the crash came we had 
anxious moments. I remember well attending 
a meeting of bankers at the Bank of England, 
under the chairmanship of Lord Cunliffe. Sir 
Edward Holden was the commanding figure. ^^ I 
must pay my wages on Friday/' he said, ^^ and 
we must have Bank Holidays until enough 
currency has been printed to be able to do so." 
His advice was followed and all the impending 
disasters were averted. 

Here, I first saw (in the war) the advantage of 
a definite cure administered by a strong man. 

At this time, also, I saw Mr. Lloyd Geoige at 
work. It was on a question of Bills of Exchange. 

We had meetings of a committee under the chair- 

t 



4 TANKS 

manship of Mr. Huth Jackson. Mr. Lloyd George^ 
as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had issued a 
proclamation which would not meet the case. It 
was a matter of life and death to a great many 
in the City. Mr. Jackson had an interview with 
Mr. Lloyd George one evening. Before he could 
report to our committee the next day, a new 
proclamation had been pubUshed making the 
necessary alterations. 

Here,Vn. I le«nt the adv«.tage of . st«»g 
man ready to act and take responsibiUty in the 
sudden-changing conditions of war. 

My two brothers were both in the Yeomanry, 
one a Major in the South Irish Horse, the other 
a Lieutenant in the Westminster Dragoons. I 
had a broken ankle which had always given me 
much trouble and prevented me firom volunteering 
in the ordinary way. I meant, however, to offer 
my services to the State in some fighting capacity 
so soon as we had tackled the many difficult 
problems which arose in the City. 

In November I wrote to Mr. Churchill, First 
Lord of the Admiralty, offering to provide and 
equip an armoured car, with crew complete, to be 
attached to Lieut. Spencer Grey's bombing 
squadron in Flanders, and received the following 
reply : — 

** Deeefnber 6IA, 1914. 

''DeabSib, 

^^ Mr. Churchill asks me to say that he has read 
your letter telling him that you have offered to equip 



THE IDEA 5 

■ad oommand, at your own expense, an armoured Car for 
Squadron-Commander Speneer Grey's aeroplane unit. 

^^ In reply the First Lord wishes me to say that in 
his ofMnion an Armoured Car would be of little use to 
this unit, and that it would be mueh better if you were 
to arrange an interview with Captain Sueter, the Director 
of the Air Department at the Admiralty, and offer the 
tervioes of the Car and of yourself to the regular Armoured 
Car section which is being built up and organised under 
Commander Boothby at Wormwood Scrubbs. 

^Ibe First Lord much appreciates your generosity 
in making the offer, and feels sure that in doing as he 
fuggests you would be putting it to the most effective 



" Yours faithfully, 

" J. Masterton Smfth." 

I saw Captain Sueter, who was in charge of the 
Armoured Car Division of the R.N.A.S., at the 
Admiralty, and was given a commission as 
Lieutenant, R.N.y.R. Commander Boothby was 
cor CO., and Major Hetherington Transport 
CNficer to the Division. 

Major Hetherington asked me to join his staff 
and to work under his Chief Assistant, Lieut. 
Fairer-Smith. I agreed to do so. 

We were stationed at Wormwood Scrubbs, in 
the Daily Mail Airship Shed, and were in process 
of forming Armoured-car Squadrons and Motor- 
cycle Machine-gun Squadrons; there was no 
accommodation in our camp and no roads, but 
plenty of mud. The Airship Shed was our only 
buikling. 

Enthusiasm was great; the personnel was full 



6 TANKS 

of rare talent, engineering and otherwise, and 
there was nothing that wanted doing but we 
could find an expert among us to do it. Dis- 
cipline was rather conspicuous by its absence. 
Squadrons grew at a great rate, ^lly equipped, 
and, as an American actor used to sing, they 
were " all dressed up and no place to go." 

Mr. Churchill had hoped, as at Antwerp, to 
be able to play an important r6le on the Belgian 
coast, co-operating his own land forces with the 
Fleet; but the Army did not appreciate Mr. 
Churchill's naval land forces, and although he 
had a perfect right to send them to Dunkirk, 
which was under the direction of the Admiralty, 
they were never very welcome in the zone of 
the armies. 

The Duke of Westminster took the first of 
these squadrons to Flanders, and other squadrons 
quickly followed, but even the Duke's tact and 
position and the excellent quaUty of the squadron 
under him could not overcome the difficulty of 
being under the Admiralty while serving with the 
Army. Still earlier than this. Armoured Cars, 
under Conunander Samson, had operated during 
and after the evacuation of Antwerp from the 
racecourse at Ostend. 

Our fine naval land force was well equipped, 
well armed, and had a splendid personnel, but 
with all the fighting on land at the disposal of the 
War Office and not of the Admiralty, its officers 
found that they could only get scope for it by 
their own personal efforts, by using their imagina- 



THE IDEA 7 

tkms and the influence of their friends. Lieut.- 
Commander Boothby got his squadron and Lieut.- 
Commander Josiah Wedgwood's squadron to the 
Dardanelles. Boothby, Commander of Squadron 
1, one of our best officers, and certainly one of the 
most delightful, capable and unassuming of men, 
was killed on landing. Josiah Wedgwood, the 
most fearless of men and a great leader, was very 
severely wounded on landing. 

Lieut.-Commander Whittall took a squadron 
to German West Africa, where they were very 
much handicapped by the terrain, but they helped 
to win a battle and were thanked by both Houses 
of Parliament of the Union. This squadron 
returned and, I believe, went later to British East 
Africa. Ford Cars, on account of their lightness 
and high clearance, were most useful in this 
campaign. 

The Duke of Westminster later took a squadron 
to Western Egypt, with great success against the 
Senussi. Commander Locker Lampson got a 
squadron to Russia, and all the world has heard 
of its exploits, operating from the frozen seas, in 
Russia, in Poland, and as far south as the 
Caucasus. 

The enthusiasm of both officers and men of the 
Armoured Car Division was unbounded. They 
searched the whole world for war. But war in 
France had already settled down to trench 
fighting. In France, Annoured Cars, always an 
opportunist force, found all opportunities gone. 

Major Hetherington, our Transport Officer, 



8 TANKS 

had distinguished himself in the early days of 
Airships. He was young and always ^11 of new 
ideas. He had a great knowledge of motor- 
cars, although not an engineer, and there was no 
new invention which he would not eagerly take 
up and push forward. 

After discussion among certain officers and 
civilians about the uselessness of Armoured Cars, 
except on roads, and the great strides that had 
been made in light armour plate as protection 
against the German " S " bullet. Major Hethering- 
ton got the Duke of Westminster sufficiently 
interested in the idea of a landship to invite Mr. 
Winston Churchill to dinner. 

Already, before this, at a supper of three at 
Murray's Club, Hetherington, James Radley and 
myself, a proposal had been put forward to build 
a landship with three wheels, each as big as the 
Great Wheel at EarPs Court. In those days 
we thought only of crossing the Rhine, and this 
seemed a solution. 

I also remember Hetherington proposing to 
fire shells at Cologne by having a shell which, 
when it reached the top of its trajectory, would 
release a second shell inside it, with planes 
attached, and this second shell would plane down, 
making 100 miles in all. It is strange that the 
Germans later tried and succeeded in firing about 
eighty miles, but not in this way. 

Mr. Churchill came to the dinner and was 
delighted with the idea of a cross-country car. 
Commodore Sueter, Lieut.-Commander Briggs 



■..S-KOVCI-: AKMOUkEI) CAR (f. ft) 



M01:REU lorry with j-P<Jt:NI>F.I< « 



SIK EISTACKTKNNVSUN 1) KYNfOUKT, K.C.B, {f. tt] 

Phoio: J.RvsullASoh. 



THE IDEA 9 

and Major Hetherington made the following 
suggestion : — 

*^It may be briefly described as a cross-country 
Armoured Car of high offensive power. 

^ It consists essentially of a platform mounted on 
three wheels, of which the front two are drivers and 
the stem wheel for steering, armed with three turrets, 
each containing two 4'inch guns, propelled by an 800H.P. 
Sunbeam Diesel Set, electric drive to the wheels being 
employed. The engines, as well as the guns and maga- 
zines, would be armoured, but not the purely structural 
part, which would be fairly proof against damage by 
shell fire if a good factor of safety were used and super- 
fluity of parts provided in the structure. 

** 13ie problem of design has been cursorily examined 
by Air Department officers, and the following rough data 
obtained: — 

ArmametU 8 twin 4-inch turrets 

with SOO rounds 
per gun. 

Bane Power 800, with 24 hours' 

fuel, or more if 
desired. 

Total weight 800 tons. 

Armour 8-inch. 

Diameter ofwheeU 40 feet. 

Tread of main wheels .... 18 feet 4 inches. 

Tread of steering-wheel . . \ S feet. 

Over-all length 100 feet. 

Ooer-all width 80 feet. 

Overfill height 46 feet. 

Clear height under body . . . 17 feet. 

Top speed on good country road • 8 miles per hour. 

Top speed on bad country road 4 miles per hour. 



10 TANKS 

" The above particulars must be regarded as approxi- 
mate and camiot be guaranteed, owing to the absence, 
in the department, of technical knowledge properly 
applicable to this problem. These particulars are, 
however, quoted in the belief that they can be readily 
worked to. 

'^The cross-country qualities of the machine would 
appear to be good. It would not be bogged on any 
ground passable by cavalry. It could pass over deep 
water obstacles having good banks up to 20 feet or 80 
feet width of waterway. It could ford waterways with 
good bottom if the water is not more than 15 feet deep. 
It could negotiate isolated obstacles up to 20 feet high. 
Small obstacles such as banks, ditches, bridges, trenches, 
wire-entanglements (electrified or not) it would roll over 
easily. It could progress on bottom gear through 
woodland of ordinary calibre. 

" The greatest disabilities of the machine appear to 
be as follows : — ^It cannot cross considerable rivers 
except at practicable fords, which practically means 
that it cannot operate as a detached unit in country 
held by the enemy, where this involves the systemati- 
cally opposed crossing of big rivers. It can be destroyed 
by sufficiently powerful artillery. It can be destroyed 
by land mines. 

"The machines might on occasion do good service 
by destroying railway lines in the enemy's rear, but its 
most important fimction would appear to be in destroy- 
ing the enemy's resistance over any region where he 
does not possess other guns than field guns or howitzers. 

" It would appear at first sight that the machine 
ought to be more heavily armed and gunned, but con- 
siderations of the disproportionate weight of the guns 
and of the time of building have resulted in the proposal 
being reduced to the comparatively moderate one 
described above." 



THE IDEA 11 

This was much the same fantastic idea that 
Mr. H. G. Wells had developed in one of his stories 
years before. 

Mr. Churchill then set up a Committee to study 
the question, and Mr. Eustace Tennyson d^Eyn- 
oourt, C.B.9 the Director of Naval Construction, 
was appointed Chairman on the 24th of February, 
1915. It was to be known as the Landship 
Committee. 

Before this date Mr. Churchill had already 
written his now historic letter to Mr. Asquith : — 



^ Mt DKA& PbDOC BflNISTEB, 

**I oitirely agree with Colonel Hankey's 
remarks on the subject of special mechanical devices for 
taking trenches. It is extraordinary that the Army in 
the field and the War Office should have allowed nearly 
three months of warfare to progress without addressing 
their minds to its special problems. 

^The present war has revolutionised all military 
theories about the field of fire. The power of the rifle 
is so great that 100 yards is held sufficient to stop any 
rush, and in order to avoid the severity of the artillery 
fire, trendies are often dug on the reverse slope of 
positions, orashort distance in the rear of villages, woods, 
or other obstacles. The consequence is that war has 
beeome a short-range instead of a long*range war as was 
expected, and opposing trendies get ever doser together, 
for mutual safety from each other's artillery fire. 

^* ^e question to be solved is not» therefore, the long 
attack over a carefully prepared glads of former times, 
but the actual getting across 100 or 200 yards of open 
MpBce and wire entanglements. All this was apparent 
more than two months ago, but no steps have been 
taken and no preparations made. 



12 TANKS 

'* It would be quite easy in a short time to fit up a 
number of steam tractors with small armoured shelters, 
in which men and machine guns could be placed, which 
would be bullet-proof. Used at night, they would not 
be affected by artillery fire to any extent. The cater- 
pillar system would enable trenches to be crossed quite 
easily, and the weight of the machine would destroy all 
wire entanglements. 

" Forty or fifty of these engines, prepared secretly and 
brought into positions at nightfall, could advance quite 
certainly into the enemy's trenches, smashing away all 
the obstructions, and sweeping the trenches with their 
machine-gun fire, and with grenades thrown out of the 
top. They would then make so many points d^appuis 
for the British supporting infantry to rush forward and 
rally on them. They can then move forward to attack 
the second line of trenches. 

'^ The cost would be small. If the experiment did not 
answer, what harm would be done? An obvious 
measure of prudence would have been J;o have started 
something like this two months ago. It should certainly 
be done now. 

"The shield is another obvious experiment which 
should have been made on a considerable scale. What 
does it matter which is the best pattern? A large 
number should have been made of various patterns; 
some to carry, some to wear, some to wheel. If the mud 
now prevents the working of shields or traction engines, 
the &Bt frost would render them fully effective. With 
a view to this I ordered a month ago twenty shields on 
wheels, to be made on the best design the Naval Air 
Service could devise. These will be ready shortly, and 
can, if need be, be used for experimental purposes. 

" A third device, which should be used systematically 
and on a large scale, is smoke artificially produced. It 
is possible to make small smoke barrels which, on being 



THE roEA 18 

li^ted^ genexBte a great volume of dense black smoke, 
idiidi could be turned off or on at will. There are other 
matterB ckmely connected with this to which I have 
already drawn your attention, but which are of so secret 
a character that I do not put them down on paper. 

*' One of the most serious dangers that we are exposed 
to is the possibility that the Germans are acting and 
preparing all these surprises, and that we may at any 
time flbid ourselves exposed to some entirely new form of 
attack. A committee of engineering officers and other 
experts ou|^t to be sitting continually at the War Office 
to formulate schemes and examine suggestions, and I 
would repeat that it is not possible in most cases to have 
lengthy experiments beforehand. 

^* If the devices are to be ready by the time they are 
required, it is indispensable that manufacture should 
proceed simultaneously with experiments. The worst 
that can happen is that a comparatively small sum of 
money is wasted. 



" Yours etc., 

"Winston S. Chubchill. 



>9 



CHAPTER II 

EXPERIMENTS 



BIG WHEELER (Mock I'p). ;/■. 13} 



19 

. (' Chapelle 

^ d German 

I that Neuve 

1 to return to 

at importance. 
. been in charge 
r the Armoured 
(1 responsible for 
1917. 
1 by the Armoured 
r Samson consisted 
; latcs with an inch 
n the German " S '• 
t were butter. 
. SymeSi assisted later 
.the light armour-plate 
I the result that, in the 
\\orried even about the 
Gf Bullet. 
iiiber of patent materials. 
Li('ut. Symes's test was 
jnst round the comer with 

r gave most valuable help, 

test plates and experiments 

• of their Armour-plate Depart- 

. Service. It is impossible to 

of their help. 

• iiurchill was leaving the Admir* 

up till then had not been suf* 

(1. What had been done was 



18 TANKS 

At the time of the formation of the Committee 
he was acting as Consulting Engineer to the 
Road Board, which, at the request of the Ad- 
miralty, very kindly released him in order that 
he might devote his attention to the Landship 
problem.^ 

The Bigwheel Landships were to be designed 
by Mr. William Tritton of Messrs. Foster & Com- 
pany of Lincoln, to whom the order was given 
on March 15th. 

At this period I was acting as a Second Assist- 
ant to Major Hetherington. He asked me to 
come to the Admiralty to see Mr. d'Eyncourt, 
who wanted some one to drive the business for- 
ward as Secretary. Mr. d'Eyncourt said he 
would be pleased with the arrangement. Hitherto, 
Mr. P. Dale Bussell, of the Admiralty Contract 
Department, had been acting as Secretary and 
had been responsible for orders and accounts. 
He now became a member of the Committee, 
and later joined me at the Ministry of Munitions 
as my deputy. He rendered invaluable service 
from the start, until he was called to the Air 
Board, by very special request of the Minister, 
to run their contracts in February 1917. 

When I took over the duties of Secretary of 
the Landship Committee in April 1916, Mr. 
d'Eyncourt was directing the affairs, assisted by 
Major Hetherington, who carried out his instruc- 
tions, with Colonel Crompton as engineer. 

On March 20th Colonel Crompton, Major 

^ His appointment terminated on August 81st, 1915. 



EXPERIMENTS 19 

Hetherington and I started for Neuve Chapelle 
to study and measure the captured German 
trenches. On arrival we discovered that Neuve 
Chapelle had been lost, and we had to return to 
England. 

The question of armour was of great importance. 
Lieut. Kenneth Symes, who had been in charge 
of the building of the bodies for the Armoured 
Cars, was in charge, and remained responsible for 
all armour-plate until October 1917. 

The original protection used by the Armoured 
Cars under Lieut.-Commander Samson consisted 
of two quarter-inch steel plates with an inch 
board between them. Even the Crerman " S " 
bullet penetrated this as if it were butter. 

Under the care of Lieut. Symes, assisted later 
by Lieut. W. E. Rendle, the light armour-plate 
niade great strides, with the result that, in the 
end, the Tanks hardly worried even about the 
German Armour Piercing Bullet. 

We tested a large number of patent materials. 
We never argued. Lieut. Symes's test was 
always sufficient — **just round the comer with 
a German rifle I " 

Messrs. Beardmore gave most valuable help, 
making numerous test plates and experiments 
under the Manager of their Armour-plate Depart- 
ment, Mr. T. M. Service. It is impossible to 
speak too highly of their help. 

In June Mr. ChurchiU was leaving the Admir- 
alty. Progress up till then had not been suf- 
ficiently marked. What had been done was 



20 TANKS 

explained in a report which we were then asked 
to make. 

ADliaRALTT LANDSmPS 

These Landships were at first designed to transport a 
trench-taking storming party of fifty men with machine- 
guns and ammmiition ; the men standing in two ranks 
at each side, and protected by side armour of 8 mm. 
thickness and roof armour of 6 mm. These vehicles 
were 40 feet long by 18 feet wide. The whole of the 
gear, engine and caterpillar supports were in the centre, 
allowing the side platforms on which the men stand to 
be only 18 inches above the ground level. 

After a visit to France it was found that these long 
ships could not be easily steered round the narrow 
points and sharp road bends found in the villages dose 
behind the firing Une. The design was altered as 
follows : — 

The vehicle was cut into two halves at mid length 
and articulated together by a special form of joint; 
on account of the increase of thiclaiess of armour, found 
necessary by the increased penetrating power of the 
German buUet, from 8 mm. to 12 mm., the height of 
the side armour was reduced to 4 feet 6 inches. This 
compelled that the troops carried should be seated. The 
improved arrangement reduces the target presented to 
the artillery fire and has some other advantages. 

In the new design the side armour is hinged at the 
top and is arranged so that it can be swung outwards 
in separate panels or as a whole ; when in this position 
an armoured skirt falls down to a low level to give 
protection to the man working at the removal of wire 
entanglements. Both the side and the front armour 
is loopholed for rifle and machine-gun fire. 

At first it was intended to adopt the only available 
form of caterpillar called the '^Pedrail,*' but 



EXPERIMENTS 21 

on sabsequent examination it was found that this 
system had not been well developed for the larger size 
demanded for these Landships, and a well-known and 
tried form of caterpillar, called the '* Creeping Grip " 
system, has been ordered from America, and the first of 
tiiese are expected to arrive shortly. 

Preliminary experiments made on the marshes near 
Gieenhithe have shown that the *' Creeping Grip '* 
type of caterpillar is well suited for this work, and 
suflBdently substantial in construction to stand all the 
hard usage it is likely to receive other than absolute 
destruction by shell fire. 

The driving power for twelve of the Landships is well 
in hand. In each case it consists of a pair of Rolls 
Royce engines, which for their reliability and silence 
in working appear to be without doubt the best existing 
type of engine, and it would have been impossible to 
develop any new type of engine of equal merit within 
a reasonable time. 

As it appeared very important that the Landships 
should be double-enders, that is to say, capable of 
woridng with equal facility in both Erections, the 
whole are fitted with special type of reversing gear. 

Hie engines are well in hand, and a supply for four 
ships have been inspected and are already on point of 
deliveiy to the MetropoUtan Carriage Wagon and 
finance Company, Ltd., who are carrying out the 
oontract for the constructional work. 

Hie work of the design and the preparation of the 
woridng drawings is now practicaUy complete, with 
the exception of a few details connected with steering. 
The design of details relating to the armament, and to 
eertain adjuncts, those which it is beUeved must be 
attached to the Landships to render them eflBdent in 
every way, are yet under consideration. Among them 
ate the following : — 



22 TANKS 

1. The best appliances to adopt for the removal of 
such obstructions as wire-entanglements. 

2. The form of mechanically worked trench-cutting 
device to be attached to the front of the Landships to 
enable them to dig themselves in as rapidly and as 
silently as possible ; and 

8. The class of armament required for grenade throw- 
ing or for projecting high explosives from points near 
the enemy's trenches* or the class of gun or howitzers, 
to be mounted on them in case they are required to 
carry armament fitted for more distant bombardment. 

At a meeting under the presidency of Mr. 
Churchill on June 8th we explained that the 
" Creeping Grip " tractors mentioned in the 
report had been ordered from Chicago and in- 
spected by our engineer out there, Lieut. Field, 
in order that we might carry out necessary 
experiments with a lighter track than the 
PedraiL 

The necessity of obtaining information from 
G.H.Q. about probable field obstructions and 
the difficulties to be overcome by Landships was 
again discussed, and we agreed to approach, 
firsts the Director of Fortifications and Works 
at the War Office, General Scott Moncrieff. At 
this meeting, also, we decided to cancel Mr. 
Tritton's 16-feet wheel Landship, for military 
reasons. It would have offered too large a 
target to the enemy. 

On June 16th Mr. d'Eyncourt asked me to 
reorganise the Committee on business lines. This 
was done and approved by Mr. d'Eyncourt, 



EXPERIMENTS 28 

Mr. A. J. Balfour now became First Lord of 
the Admiralty, and there was some doubt 
whether he would continue the work, which would 
become purely military. Our doubts were soon 
set at rest. 

On the 22nd of June Mr. Balfour approved 
that the experimental work should proceed, as 
it was the policy of the late Board and cotdd 
not be abandoned without much loss. He also 
preferred not to take credit for any special 
schemes of the late First Lord, and requested 
Mr. Churchill to continue to interest himself in 
the Conmiittee. 

At this period no Government Department 
would provide any office accommodation for us, 
so on June 21st, 1915, I took an office at my 
own expense at 88, Pall Mall, and installed in 
it my entire organisation, which consisted of 
myself and Mr. Percy Anderson, at that time a 
petty officer in the Armoured Car Division. 

A controversy raged on this subject for six 
months between the Admiralty, the Ministry of 
Munitions and the Office of Works. 

The Admiralty referred to it as a troublesome 
case, and informed the Office of Works that a 
temporary Lieut. Albert G. Stem, R.N.y.R., 
had straightway proceeded to take an office for 
himself at 88, PaU Mall, and apparently did not 
understand the subtleties of the procedure in 
the Civil Service. 

On June 28rd the Landship Compiittee was in 
;ion of; — 



24 TANKS 

(1) One Killen-Strait Tractor at the Armoured Car 

Headquarters at the Clement Talbot Works, 
Barlby Road ; 

(2) Two Giant Creeper Grip Tractors at the works of 

Messrs. McEwan, Pratt & Company, Ltd., 
Burton-on*Trent, which were to be coupled 
together for experiments ; 

(8) Two Diplock experimental one-ton wagons ; 

(4) An experimental ground at Burton-on-Trent. 

At Burton-on-Trent we had Lieut. W. G. 
Wilson. He was the well-known engineer of the 
firm of Wilson-Pilcher (a pioneer firm in motor- 
car construction), and later of Messrs. Armstrong, 
Whitworth & Company. As a lieutenant in the 
Armoured Car Squadron he had helped in the 
construction of these cars, both the light car 
and the heavy car, which was armed with the 
8-pounder naval gun. He was now supervising 
the experiments at Burton-on-Trent. 

The Committee was also engaged in the con- 
struction of two Land Battleships, one on Diplock 
pedrails and the other on the special Creeper 
Grip tracks made in America. 

Successful experiments had been carried out 
with the Killen-Strait Tractor for cutting barbed 
wire, and experimental shields were being fitted 
on the 1^ ton Pedrail machines as a protection 
for advancing infantry. General Scott Moncrieff 
wrote to the Committee : — 

'* We think there should be at the bows of the Land- 
ship on either side one 2-pounder Pom-Pom to deal 
with machine-gun emplacements. 



EXPERIMENTS 26 

**That annament should be gupplemented by two 
madiine-gims placed further back, somewhat on the 
lines of the broadside fire of ships. 

^* Loopholes for musketry fire would be required 
eyery^ere of course. 

^ The above represents the view of the General Staff 
here» but it may be modified in detail. However, if 
the details of the structures are arranged on this basis, 
it may be, I dare say, possible to introduce slight 
modifications later." 

The 2-pounder Pom-Pom referred to above 
was made by Vickers Maxims and was an anti- 
aircraft gun. The 8-pounder naval gun had, up 
to now, not been found suitable for the destruc- 
tion of houses and small forts, but orders had 
been given for high explosive shells for it, as the 
Conmiittee considered it would be the more 
suitable gun for its purposes. 

A mortar, already used in France, was now 
at Barlby Road. It was thought that it might 
be suitable for destroying buildings and forts. 
This mortar threw a 50-pound shell 750 yards 
and a 25-pound shell 2000 yards. The shell was 
loaded with high explosive and had been found — 
especially the 50-pounder— very destructive in- 
deed. The Conunittee, however, were of opinion 
that the slowness of fire and the fact that the 
mortar was stationary would make it unsuitable 
for the Landships. 

At this stage it was considered advisable to 
request the War Office to arrange for their 
representative to attend our Conunittee Meetings 



26 TANKS 

in order to help, with their experience and 
criticism, the Committee's plans for armour and 
armament, and the erection of obstacles at the 
experimental ground at Burton-on-Trent. 

Mr. Balfour had asked Mr. Churchill to continue 
to act as Chairman of the Committee. At the 
same time the Admiralty handed over the control 
to the War OflBce, who appointed General Scott 
Moncrieff Chairman. ^ 

I now had three chairmen, Mr. Churchill, 
General Scott Moncrieff, and Mr. d'Ejmcourt. 
General Scott Moncrieff helped wherever he could 
and never interfered with, or obstructed, the 
pioneers who were struggling with this problem 
of constructing an armoured car that could 
cross all sorts of country, German trenches and 
perpendicular parapets, a problem which was 
said to be insoluble by nearly every technical 
expert on traction, and which the pioneers very 
nearly gave up as hopeless. 

On the 29th of June the War OflBce and the 
Admiralty at last joined forces, although this 
had been opposed by Mr. Churchill since the 
start. 

"niere was little to show at this period, and in 
order to raise enthusiasm amongst the Army 
section I arranged for a display of different 
experimental apparatus at the Armoured Car 
Headquarters on June 80th. 

The pUce de resistance was wire-cutting by the 
Killen-S trait Tractor with torpedo wire-cutters. 
Amongst those present were Mr, Lloyd George, 



EXPERIMENTS 27 

Mr. Winston Churchill, Mr, d'Eyncourt, Sir 
Frederick Black, Major-General Scott Moncrieff, 
Colonel W. D. Bird, Colonel H. C. L. Holden 
and Brigadier-General Jackson. 

Mr. Stokes of Ransomes & Rapier had shown 
me the Stokes gun on Clapham Common, which 
was being used as an experimental ground by 
General Louis Jackson, Head of Trench Warfare 
at the Ministry of Munitions, and I had attended 
several private trials and was much impressed 
by the gun. I knew that Mr. Lloyd George, 
now Minister of Munitions, was coming out to 
see our trials, and so arranged with Mr. Stokes 
to have his gun at our old headquarters at 
Wormwood Scrubbs ready to fire for his benefit. 
Mr. Stokes had already convinced me of the 
impossibility of getting the War Office to take 
up the gun. 

Mr. Lloyd George saw it fired with at least 
three shells in the air at the same time and was 
much impressed. He said to Mr. Stokes, ^^ How 
long would it take to manufacture 1000 of these 
guns ? " Mr. Stokes replied, *^ It depends whether 
you or I try to make them." Anyhow, Mr. Lloyd 
George gave an order for 1000 of these guns, 
which have been one of the features of the war. 
That is one more debt of gratitude which the 
nation owes to Mr. Lloyd Grcorge. 

On the 2nd of July, Squadron 20 of the Royal 
Naval Armoured Car Division, later to become 
famous as the *^wet nurse" of Tanks, was 
placed^ for this work^ under the direction of 



28 TANKS 

Mr. d'Eyncourt. The officers of the Squadron 
were : Squadron-Commander Hetherington, Lieut .- 
Commander R. W, McGrath, Lieut. W. G. Wilson, 
Lieut. K. Symes and Lieut. A. G. Stem. Others 
were now added to it. The Squadron was 
at Burton-on-Trent, and Squadron-Commander 
Hetherington remained in command. He had 
Lieut.-Commander Fairer-Smith, Lieut. W. P. 
Wilson and Lieut. W. G. Wilson as section 
leaders and three sub-lieutenants to make the 
full complement allowed for the Landship Squad- 
ron. I was to continue to act as Secretary and 
attend to the execution of the instmetions of the 
Committee, and Lieut. Symes was attached for 
the special work on armour plate. Lieut.-Com- 
mander McGrath was shortly afterwards appointed 
Second-in-Command, instid of Lieut-CoWian- 
der Fairer-Smith, and when Major Hetherington 
rejoined the Air Service early in 1916, he took 
the command and held it until the end of the 
war. Squadron 20, which at this date in 1915 
numbered less than fifty, was by the end of the 
war at least twelves times as large. 

This force, at a time when the Army could 
spare no officers and men, tested and shipped 
all the Tanks, carried out all experiments, includ- 
ing the first great experiment at Hatfield Park, 
and rendered most valuable service in numerous 
ways. This it continued to do until the end of 
the war. 

In July, the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and 
Finance Company asked to be released &om their 



EXPERIMENTS 29 

contract to build the Pedrail machine, and the 
contract was transferred to Messrs. Foster & 
Company at Lincoln. 

Colonel Crompton had put an enormous amount 
of work into his Pedrail design, but it had now 
to be abandoned owing to its great weight. We 
were faced with the fact that our original designs 
were both failures, and we had to set to work 
again. 

The Pedrail material and the chains which 
had been specially manufactured were subse- 
quently sold to the Trench Warfare Department, 
who had in view the building of a machine tor 
carrying " Flammenwerfer " up to the enemy 
lines. The construction of this machine was 
carried out by a firm at Bath, the engines being 
supplied by the Astor Engineering Company. 
As certain mechanical defects developed, I believe 
that nothing further was done in the matter. 

On July 29th Mr. Tritton was instructed to 
build a machine incorporating an armoured 
body, the 9-foot Bullock extended track and 
the 105 H.P. Daimler engine and transmission. 

The machine was constructed as far as possible 
out of the parts at Mr. Tritton's disposed. "Hie 
two 9-foot bullock tracks, the 105 H.P. Daimler 
engine, the worm case, and the gear box were 
the same that had already been used for the 
heavy howitzer tractors. The body was made 
of boiler plate, so as to get the weight correct, 
but the turret, though of the correct weight, 
was a dummy, and would jiot revolve. The total 



80 TANKS 

gross weight of the machine was about eighteen 
tons, and the height to the top of the turret 
from the ground 10 feet 2 inches. The length 
of the tracks used on this machine were such 
that its power of crossing a sheer-sided trench 
was limited to a trench four feet wide. Its 
speed was three-quarters of a mile an hour 
trench-crossing and two miles an hour when not 
negotiating severe obstacles. The steering was 
by a hand wheel operating two 4 foot 6 inch 
steering-wheels carried on a tail projecting six 
feet behind the body of the vehicle. The arma- 
ment consisted of one 2-pounder automatic gun, 
with about 800 rounds of ammunition, one 
*803 Maxim, and several Lewis or Hotchkiss 
automatics, to be fired through the port-holes. 

Mr. Tritton had all along been most anxious 
to help. He had spent his time and money in 
every way, and had already built for Admiral 
Bacon the 100 H.P. tractors for pulling the 
15-inch howitzers and a trench-crosser. Besides 
the 16-foot Wheeler design, he had put forward 
an electrical Wheeler Machine operated by cables, 
which had al^o been turned down. 

Lieut. W. G. Wilson continued to help him 
and to act as Inspector for the Committee. 

The machine was first tried on September 6th 
in Messrs. Foster's yard. Certain mechanical 
defects showed themselves, but, on the 19th of 
September, the first trial over trenches took 
place on a hill outside Lincoln before Mr. 
d'Eyncourt, Mr. E. Moir, who was head of the 



i inrroN s thkncii 



TKITTON THIINCH CHOSSIN 



BULLOCK TRACK MACHINE (f, 30) 



BULLOCK TKACK MACHINli 



EXPERIMENTS 81 

recentiy formed Inventions Department of the 
Ministry of Munitions, Colonel £. D. Swinton, 
Deputy Secretary to the Committee of Imperial 
Defence, Major Hetherington and myself. 

This trial gave great satisfaction. 

Already, in August, before this trial was held, 
Mr. Tritton and Lieut. Wilson had started to 
draw out a machine on the same lines but of 
stronger material and better design. On August 
26th Mr. Tritton, Lieut. Wilson and I viewed 
the full-sized wooden model of this machine. 
It was known as the " Tritton " Machine and 
later as " Little Willie." On the same day, at 
a meeting at the White Hart Hotel, Lincoln, 
we discussed fresh requirements which we had 
just received from the War Office. They asked 
that the machine should be able to cross a trench 
5 feet wide with a parapet 4 feet 6 inches high. 
Lieut. Wilson and Mr. Tritton thereupon started 
work on a type designed to do this. It would, 
they told me, require a 60-foot wheel. 

The contour of this sized wheel became more or 
less the shape of the underside of the new machine, 
which was called first the ^^ Wilson " Machine, 
then " Big Willie " and finally " Mother." 



*' 83, Paa Maa, 8.W. 
'' September 3fd, 1916. 



•• Dear Trttton, 

^* This 18 a private communication to you : I 
have also written to Wilson. 

*^ It is of the utmost importance that we get on with 
the type known as the * Wilson.* If it is a question of 



82 TANKS 

draughtsmen or designers we cannot allow any lack of 
assistance to stand in the way of our immediate progress. 
^'Please let me have a confidential note from you 
as to how we can speed this matter up. 

"*Tritton' Model 

^' With reference to the gun in the turret : the ship 
will probably want to use its gun at an angle of 45 degrees 
pointing forward, upward or downward when crossing 
irregular ground and not on the flat, therefore it is 
necessary to be able to shift the gun forward as far as 
possible. It does not appear to me to be a difficult 
thing to run this on rails from the centre, where it is 
now, right forward. 

^* I am also informed that it is not so necessary to 
protect the men from shrapnel, therefore a shield cover- 
ing the front and the sides and the top partially seems 
to me to be sufficient. 

*^I shall be very pleased to hear from you on the 
matter. 

*• Yours faithfully, 

** Albert G. Steen." 

This machine, to all intents and purposes, was, 
and remains, the Heavy Tank of to-day, Mark V. 
But there were many difficulties to overcome. 
Endless experiments had to be made to produce 
a satisfactory track. 

Now that we had progressed so far, after six 
months of secret experiments, excitement was 
intense to achieve a successful Landship. Mr. 
d'Eyncourt, Mr. Tritton, Major Hetherington, 
Lieut. Wilson, Lieut. Sjmaes, Mr. Anderson and 
I were all straining every nerve to succeed. It 



(.[(EHNHITHE MACHINE. (/. 21} 



t.KKESHITHE MACHINE i 



KILLEN-STRAIT MACHINE, (p. SJ) 



KILLEN-STRAIT MACHINE. (>. 24} 

' Pliotm: C«pt- S. V 



EXPERIMENTS 88 

was the track that eluded us. Mr. d'Eyncourt 
turned down a proposed track of Balata Belting, 
and once more our hopes sank. Then, on 
September 22nd, I received the following tele- 
gram from Lincoln. 

* * 8km, Boom 60 ; 83, PdU MaO. 

*^ Balata died on test bench yesterday morning. 
New arrival by Tritton out of Pressed Plate, 
in wd^t but veiy strong. All doing well, thank you. 

"Peoud Pabsnts." 

This was the birth of the Tank. 



n 



CHAPTER m 

TRIALS— AND TRIALS 



.N 



CHAPTER III 

TRIALS — ^AND TRIALS 

September 1915 to February 1916 

I HAVE already spoken of the impossibility of 
finding any Government Department which would 
give us acconmiodation. That was only one of 
our many difficulties. We encountered opposition 
from all quarters. Manufacturers did not like 
our type of work. It was all experimental and 
meant continual cancelling of orders. Then, in 
July, the Ministry of Munitions took over all 
inventions in connection with land warfare, and 
the Admiralty, quite rightly, was imwilling to 
provide the men for these experiments. This 
meant the loss of Squadron 20, and without 
Squadron 20 all our experiments and transport 
would have stopped. 

In August the whole of the Armoured Car 
Division was disbanded, and on the 18th of that 
month the following order was issued : — 

^ Will ]rou please inform the President of Landships 
Committee that, in accordance with instractions re- 
ceived from the Admiralty, No. 20 Squadron is being 
recaUed to Headquarters with a view to transfer of 
officers and men to the Army or Air Service." 

S7 



88 TANKS 

At the same time Squadron 20 got its sailing 
orders. 

^^ You are to return with your Squadron to Head- 
quarters at 9.80 a.m. on Friday next, 20th inst., to 
bring with you all gear and stores which have not been 
purchased by the Landships Committee. All officers 
and men are to be present.'' 

This disbandment was stopped by the per- 
sonal intervention of Mr. d'Eyncourt. It was 
one of the many occasions on which he saved 
the Landships (and future Tanks) from ex- 
tinction. 

I also made a personal request to the Minister 
of Munitions, and was told by him that the 
Admiralty informed him that the order was to 
be disregarded. 

On August 19th Mr. d'Eyncourt wrote to the 
Second Sea Lord as follows : — 

" Officers and men of Squadron 20 (Armoured Car 
Division) who have been detailed tor duty mider the 
Landships Committee, have been offered the choice of 
joining the Army and have refused. 

^^In view of this it appears that there can be no 
objection to the request of the Minister of Munitions 
being granted; otherwise the work on the landships 
will come to an immediate standstill." 

The Second Sea Lord replied on the same 
date : — 

*^ I have approved as above» and all tools, etc., 
required by the Committee should be left with them 
mitil other arrangements can be made." 



N 



TRIALS -AND TRIALS 89 

Towards the end of September another attempt 
was made to get rid of Squadron 20, and in the 
end an arrangement was made which was set out 
by the Admiralty in a document on October 1st. 
The Landships Committee of the Admiralty was 
to take its instructions as to type, armament and 
protection from the War Office, was to carry on 
the designing and constructing as far as was 
desirable, was then to hand over the work to 
the Ministry of Munitions, and was, for this 
purpose, to make use of the personnel, transport 
and supplies which were at its disposal— that is 
to say. No. 20 Squadron of the R.N.A.S. 

On the 20th of October the First Lord, Mr. 
Balfour, approved the minute. 

Mr. Macnamara then suggested, for secrecy's 
sake, to change the title of the Landships Com- 
mittee. Mr. d'Eyncourt agreed that it was very 
desirable to retain secrecy by all means, and 
proposed to refer to the vessel as a ^^ Water 
Carrier." In Government offices, committees 
and departments are always known by their 
initials. For this reason I, as Secretary, con- 
sidered the proposed title totally unsuitable. In 
our search for a synonymous term, we changed 
the word " Water Carrier " to " Tank," and be- 
came the " Tank Supply," or " T.S." Committee. 
This is how these weapons came to be called 
*^ Tanks," and the name has now been adopted 
by all countries in the world. 

Although the Ministry of Munitions had now 
taken over from the Admiralty all inventions 



40 TANKS 

which were to be used solely for military pur- 
poses, it was arranged that the Landships Com- 
mittee should continue as hitherto under the 
chairmanship of Mr. d'Eyncourt, and that pro- 
gress should be reported periodically to Mr. 
Moir of the Munitions Inventions Department. 
Mr. Moir was at all times most helpful. He 
refrained from interfering in a development 
which was now in full swing. Under this new 
arrangement the Commanding Officer of Squad- 
ron 20 took command of the Ministry of Munitions 
Ebcperimental Ground at Wembley and gave all 
the necessary help for all experiments carried 
out there. This included all " Flammenwerfer '* 
or flame projectors, and many other experiments 
of the Trench Warfare Department. This was 
a very satisfactory arrangement. We were look- 
ing for an experimental ground, when I found 
General Louis Jackson, Director of Trench War- 
fare, with a ground and no men. We had 
Squadron 20 but no ground. So we united, with 
a large saving of money to the nation ; but there 
were several hurdles of red tape to negotiate 
before the thing was done. 

It was about this time — July 1916 — when we 
were struggling with the mechanical problem and 
fighting to be allowed to exist, that Colonel 
Swinton, by chance, discovered us. Years ago — 
I believe in 1908, or perhaps a little earlier— he 
or his friend C^tptain TuUoch, who was an expert 
on ballistics and high explosives, put before the 
military authorities ideas of mechanical warfare 



il Hand Macbioe fitted with Infanlry Shield, {p. 21} 



{'•drail Hand Machine 6tteil w 



^^ 




MAJOR W. G Wli-SON. C.M.G. ((■. 2J) 



TRIALS-AND TRIALS 41 

which, I am told, are still filed at the War Office. 
At the beginning of the war he again put for- 
ward his ideas, this time at G.H.Q., France. 
They were sent in to the War Office, and there 
the experts decided that from a technical and 
manufacturing point of view the weapons which 
he proposed were impossible. They would take 
such a long time to design that the war would be 
over before any could be manufactured. 

He was now to play an important part in 
getting the military authorities to take up the 
idea of Tanks. With his keen sense of humour, 
jmderstanding of the value of propaganda, 
intimate knowledge of the War Office and all 
its mysterious ways, and with his exceptional 
position as Deputy Secretary to the Committee 
of Imperial Defence, he was able to push forward 
our schemes and to cut short all sorts of red tape 
for us. It was largely owing to his efforts that 
the Army took up Tanks and developed the 
tactics rapidly enough to make it impossible for 
the German Army ever to catch us up. 

He asked me to go and see him at the Com- 
mittee of Imperial Defence. 

"lieut. Stem,*' he said, "this is the most 
extraordinary thing that I have ever seen. The 
Director of Naval Construction appears to be 
making land battleships for the Army who have 
never asked for them, and are doing nothing to 
help. You have nothing but naval ratings doing 
all your work. What on earth are you? Are 
you a mechanic or a chauffeur? '* 



42 TANKS 

** A banker," I replied. 

" This," said he, " makes it still more mys- 
terious." 

It was Colonel Swinton who got the Prime 
Minister to call an inter-departmental Committee 
on August 28th. 

This Committee went very thoroughly into the 
whole question of procedure in connection with 
future experiments with Landships, and as a 
result many difficulties which we had hitherto 
experienced were swept away. 

The following letter from Mr. d'Eyncourt 
explains itself : — 



*' 73, Oadogan Square, 8.W.t 
** AvffUBi 20A, 1015. 

** My dear Stern, 

"Many thanks for your letter and copy of 
agenda; the conference has distinctly cleared the air 
and put the whole thing on a sounder footing. I'm 
glad you had a good talk with Swinton ; you seem to 
have arranged it very well, and I now hope we shall be 
able to go on steadily without more tiresome inter- 
ruptions. 

" I hope Foster is getting on well and will be able to 
push on the new design also. 

" We must be very careful about secrecy, especially 
in conveying the things to Wembley, and in keeping 
everything quiet there; we should have a high fence 
put round, and all the men of Squadron 20 must be 
trustworthy and specially warned about talking. 

"Foster's people should also be warned; will you 
write him a letter impressing the importance of secrecy ? 
I think I did speak to him about it, but another letter 
won't do any harm. 



TRIALS— AND TRIALS 48 



M 



I shall be at Admiralty again on Wednesday. 
I am keeping your letter as a minute of tlie Con- 
ference. 

" Very sincerely yours, 

"E. H. T- d'Eyncouet.^' 

Secrecy for our new weapons was all-important. 
Everybody connected was sworn to secrecy. Any- 
body suspected of talking was threatened with 
intCTnment under D.O.R.A. Ladies sometimes 
were found to have heard something about us, 
and had to be visited and told it would cost 
thousands of lives if the secret reached the 
enemy. Flying men had to be forbidden to fly 
over the Tank grounds. It was easy to stop all 
talk amongst those who knew of the start of our 
enterprise by informing them that our efforts had 
entirely failed and that we had lost our jobs, 
which they were only too ready to believe. 

On September 20th I arranged for Lieut. 
Symes to bring by motor lorry the complete 
full-sized model of ''Mother" to the Trench 
Warfare Experimental Ground at Wembley, the 
Headquarters of Squadron 20, and on Sep- 
tember 22nd orders were given to Mr. Tritton, 
of Foster's, to continue working on the design of 
''Mother'* with all dispatch, but not to stop 
rebuilding the first type called " Little Willie." 

The Director of Steff Duties at the War Office, 
Colonel Bird, now informed the Commander-in- 
CtdeS of the British Army in the Field that a 
wooden model of the proposed Landship would 
be ready for inspection on Wednesday, Sep- 



44 TANKS 

p 

tember 29th, and asked him to send representa- 
tives. This meeting took place, and there were 
present Mr. d'Eyncourt, Major Hetherington, 
Lieut. W. 6. Wilson, Lieut. Stem and Lieut. 
K. P. Symes of the Committee ; Major Segrave, 
Colonel Bird and Colonel Holden of the War 
Office; Colonel Harvey, Major Dryer and Major 
Guest from 6.H.Q., France; Colonel (roold 
Adams and Captain Hopwood from the Ord- 
nance Board; Brig. -General Jackson, Mr. Moir, 
Captain Tulloch, Captain Acland, Mr. Tritton 
and Colonel Swinton. All expressed their satis- 
faction with the display, but there were others 
not so well pleased. The minutes of the meeting 
were duly circtdated to all concerned, and General 
Von Donop strongly expressed his disapproval 
of the procedure which had been adopted. He 
viewed with dismay the fact that the War Office, 
the Committee of Lnperial Defence and the 
Admiralty were all mixed up in deciding this 
question. He was also somewhat annoyed that 
he should have been asked to provide guns and 
ammunition when he had not been consulted as 
to their pattern. 

The officials concerned generally were getting 
rather sceptical about the progress of our Com- 
mittee, and on September 80th I gave Mr. Tritton 
instructions to carry on with all possible speed 
the construction of *' Mother." 

In the design .of this machine, with the track 
running over the top, the difficulty was the posi- 
tion of the guns, and Mr. d'Eyncourt gave me 



TRIALS-AND TRIALS 46 

iiistnictionsy which I forwarded to Mr. Tritton 
on October 5th» giving the size of the opening of 
the ^^ sponsons," ^ which would carry one gun 
on each side of the proposed ship, and the weight 
of the gun-carriage, of the base-plate, and of 
the holding-down ring and shield. These two 
sponsons, which carried two guns and shields, 
were to weigh in all about three tons. 

At this time it had not been finally decided 
what gun we should have, although the sponsons 
were designed to carry the 6-pounder. A 2*95 
inch mountam gun was borrowed from Woolwich 
and proved satisfactory, but it was impossible 
to get, so in the end the 6-pounder naval gun 
was adopted. Admiral Singer having told us 
that he was ready to release a number of these 
guns. Thus another vital difficulty was over- 
come by the Admiralty. 

At the end of October Foster's workmen were 
leaving the firm. It had frequently applied to 
the Government for war badges for them, but 
had never been able to get them, and now, owing 
to the great secrecy of the work on which the 
men were employed, their comrades thought 
that they were not doing war work. I found it 
impossible to obtain the badges, until at last I 
went to the offices of the War Badge Depart- 
ment in Abingdon Street and threatened to take 



^ A sponaon is a structure projectiiig beyond the side of 
a Tank or Ship in which a gun is pla^. Tliis projectioQ 
is necessary to enable the gun to be fired dear oe the side^ 
directly ahead or astern. 



46 TANKS 

them by force with the aid of Squadron 20. 
Thereupon a sack of badges was delivered. 
On October 29th Mr. Tritton wrote to me : — 

" I am very grateful to you for the trouble you have 
taken in the matter, and I feel I must congratulate you 
on the promptness with which you have overcome the 
entanglement of red tape which is apparent in Abingdon 
Street." 

On November 22nd the first of the tracks for 
*^ Little Willie" was completed and ran in the 
shop on its own axle. On account of the shortage 
of material, the second track could not be com- 
pleted till later. " Mother's " hull was expected 
to be in the erecting shop the next day, and the 
engine and gearing were well on the way to 
completion. Owing to a shortage of links, no 
approximate promises for completion were given, 
but a promise was expected at the end of the 
week. 

On December 8rd the first trials of '' Mother '' 
took place at Lincoln, and were very successful 
indeed. It was hoped to have a machine on the 
road by December 20th» and to bring it to London 
for the trials a fortnight later. 

Mr. d'Eyncourt also wished to have a 6-pounder 
gun fired from the finished Tank in order to see 
what effect it would have on the sponson, the 
frame, and the crew. " Mother " was therefore 
moved to a lonely field within a mile of Lincoln 
Cathedral. The night before Major Hetherington 
and I motored up with the ammunition^ 



TRIALS-AND TRIALS 47 

was solid, armoiuspiaxsing, 6-pounder shell. 
"Tl&rly next morning, everjrthing being ready. 
Major Hetherington fired the first shot. There 
was a misfire, and while we were examining the 
breech the gun went off itself. No one knew 
where the shell had gone. We feared the worst. 
Lincoln Cathedral was in danger ! But after two 
hours spent with a spade the shell was found 
buried in the earth, to the great relief of us alL 

It was quite clear that the Experimental 
Ground at Wembley was not sufficiently private 
for these very secret trials which we intended 
now to carry out, so Mr. d'Eyncourt and I 
started very early one morning looking for a 
suitable place north of London, and finally saw 
Lord Salisbury's agent at Hatfield, Mr. McCowan. 
We selected a certain part of the park for the 
trial, and Mr. McCowan gave us every facihty. 
Lord Salisbury afterwards gave the necessary 
permission. 

For the lighter armament of the Tanks we 
tried every machine-gun to see which was the 
most suitable — ^the Lewis gun, the Hotchkiss 
gun, the Vickers and the Madsen, which were 
all lent to us by Colonel Brown of the Enfield 
Lock Small Arms Factory. The Hotchkiss was 
eventually selected. 

Colonel Swinton was convinced that there was 
a great future for Mechanical Warfare, and in 
order that everything should be ready, if the 
experiments were successful, he had arranged 
for an Inter-Departmental Conference of the 



48 TANKS 

Committee of Imperial Defence to be held on 
December 24th. 

This Committee was held and recommended 
that, if and when the Army Council (after inspec- 
tion of the final experiments on the Land 
Cruisers) decided that they would be useful to 
the Army, the provision of these machines 
should be entrusted to a small executive Supply 
Committee — ^which for secrecy's sake should be 
called the " Tank Supply Committee " — to come 
into existence as soon as the decision of the Army 
Council was made ; that in order to carry out its 
work with the maximimi of dispatch and the 
minimum of reference, it should have full power 
to place orders and correspond direct with any 
Grovemment departments concerned; that it 
should be composed of those who had hitherto 
carried on the work, and that the War Office 
should take the necessary steps to raise a body 
of suitable men to man the Land Cruisers. 

The Committee made its recommendations 
in great detail, of which the above is only 
a r6sum6, and these recommendations were 
submitted to the Admiralty, which agreed to 
give every facility: (1) By lending Mr. d'Eyn- 
court, who had an intimate knowledge of all 
that had been done, and who expressed his 
willingness to give aU the assistance he could; 
(2) by supplying 6-pounder guns; (8) by trans- 
ferring the officers and men of Squadron 20 to 
the Army. 

The first Tank» '' Mother," was finished on 



( KEKl'lNd <;HIH MACHINES COITLIUDTOCETHKli. (f . 



CREEPING GHI1> MACHINE [f 



Hiotos:C«pt S. 1 



TRIALS -AND TRIALS 40 

January 26th, 1016, and sent by train to Hatfield 
Station, where it was unloaded in the middle of 
the night and driven up to the special ground in 
Hatfield Park. A detachment of Squadron 20, 
under the Command of Major Hetherington, had 
previously been sent to Hatfield. 

Large numbers of the 8rd (Mid Herts) Battalion 
Herts Volunteer Regiment and a company ot 
Engineers, lent by the War Office, helped to dig 
the necessary trenches for the trials, the first of 
which took place on the 20th of January, 1016. 

The following were present — 

E. H. TennyBon d'Eynoourt, Esq., C.B. 

G«ieral Sir G. K. Scott Moncrieff, K.C.B., CLE. 

Rear-Admiral F. C. T. Tudor, C.B. 

Bear-Admiral Morgan Singer, C. B. 

Brigadier-General L. C. Jackson, CJtf.G. 

Brigadier-General H. C. Nanton, C.B. 

Brigadier-General HiU, C3. 

Colonel R. E. Crompton. 

Colonel W. D. Bird, C.B., D.S.O. 

Colonel Harrison, RA. 

Colonel F. B. Steel. 

lieot.-Colonel M. Hankey, CB. 

Lieut.-C(^nel E. D. Swinton, D.S.O. 

l4eut.-Colonel W. Dally Jones. 

Lieut.-Colonel Byme. 

l4eut.-Colonel G. H. S. Browne. 

Lieot.-Colonel Byron, RE. 

Lieut.-Colonel Matheson, RE. 

Commodore Murray F. Sueter, C3. 

Major Lindsay. 

Major S. T. Cargill, RE. 

Captain T. G. TuUocfa. 



60 TANKS 

Captain C. A. Bird, R.A. 

Flight-Commander H. A. Nicholl. 

Lieut.-Commander P. B. Barry. 

Dr. C. Addison. 

F. KeUaway, Esq., M.P. 

P. Dale Bussellp Esq. 

Sir Charles Parsons. 

Mr. McCowan (Agent to Lord Salisbury). 

Mr. W. A. Tritton. 

Mr. Yeatman. 

Mr. Broughton ^ 

Mr. Starkey r of Messrs. Foster and Company. 

Mr. Sykes i 

Major Hetherington. 

Lieut. W. G. Wilson. 

Lieut.-Commander R. W. McGrath. 

Lieut. K. Symes. 

Lieut. W. P. Wilson. 

Lieut. G. K. Field. 

Lieut. A. G. Stem. 

The Programme of the First Trial was as 
follows :; — 

TANK TRIAL 

Descbipteon of a " Tank " 

This machine has been designed, under the direction 
of Mr. E. H. T. d'Eyncourt, by Mr. W. A. Tritton (of 
Messrs. Foster of Lincoln) and Lieut. W. G. Wilson, 
R.N.A.S.9 and has been constructed by Messrs. Foster of 
Lincoln. The conditions laid doi;m as to the obstacle 
to be surmounted were that the machine should be able 
to climb a parapet 4 feet six inches high and cross a 
gap 5 feet wide. 



TRIALS -AND TRIALS 61 

Over-all Dimenrians 

FeeL Itkcku* 

Length 81 8 

Width with sponsons 18 8 

„ without sponsons 8 8 

Hd^t 8 

PrcAection 
The oonning-tower is protected generally by 10 mm. 
thickness of nickel steel plate, with 12 mm. thickness in 
front of the drivers. The sides and back ends have 
8 mm. thickness of nickel-steel plate. The top is 
covered by 6 mm. thickness of high tensile steel and 
the belly is covered with the same. 

We^ht 

Hull 21 

Sponsons and guns 8 10 

Ammunition, 800 rounds for guns and 
20,000 rounds for rifles (removable for 

transport purposes) 2 

Crew (8 men) .../.... 10 

Tail (for balance) 1 8 



Total weight with armament, crew, 
petrol and ammunition ... 28 8 

Horse Power of engines . . . 105 H.P. 
Number of gears 4 forward, 2 reverse. 

f}mile, 
1| miles, 
2\ miles, and 
, 4 miles per hour. 

Two 6*pounder guns, and 

Three Automatic rifles (1 Hotchkiss and 2 Madsen). 



52 TANKS 

Bate of Fire 

6-pounder, 15 to 20 rounds per minute. 
Madsen gun, 800 rounds per minute. 
Hotdikiss gun, 260 rounds per minute. 

Notes as to Steel Plate obtained fbom 

Experiments Made 

NickeUSteel Plate 

12 mm. thickness is proof against a concentrated 
fire of reversed Mauser bullets at 10 yards range, normal 
impact. 

10 mm. thickness is proof against single shots of 
reversed Mauser bullets at 10 yards range normal 
impact. 

8 mm. thickness is proof against Mauser bullets at 
10 yards range, normal impact. 

High Tensile Steel Plate 

6 mm. thickness will give protection against bombs 
up to 1 lb. weight detonated not closer than 6 inches 
from the plate. 

N.B. — ^It is proposed to cause the detonation of bombs 
away from the top of the Tank by an outer skin of 
expanded metal, which is not on the sample machine 
shown. 

PROGRAMME OF TRIALS 
Refebence to Sketch, Plan and Sections ^ 
The trial will be divided into three parts, I., II., and 

ni. 

Part 1.— Official Test 

1. The Machine will start and cross (a) the obstacle 
spedfled, i. e. a parapet 4 feet 6 inches high and a gap 
6 feet wide. This forms the test laid down. 

^ Appendix No. 7« 



TRIALS -AND TRIALS 68 

Part n. — Test approodmating to Active Service 

2, It will then proceed over the level at full speed 
lor about 100 yards, and take its place in a prepared 
dug-out shelter (b) from which it will traverse a course 
of obstacles approximating to those likely to be met 
with on service. 

8. Climbing over the British defences (c) (reduced for 
its passage), it will — 

4. Pass through the wire entanglements in front ; 

5. Cross two small shell craters, each 12 feet in dia- 
meter and 6 feet deep ; 

6. Traverse the soft, water-logged ground round the 
stream (d), climb the slope from the stream, pass throu^ 
the German entanglement. 

7. Climb the German defences (e). 

8. Turn round on the flat and pass down the marshy 
bed of the stream via (d) and chmb down the double 
breastwork at (/)• 

Part ni.—Ewbra Test if required 

0. The ** tank '* will then, if desired, cross the larger 
trench (h) and proceed for half a mile across the park 
to a piece of rotten ground seamed with oil trendies, 
going down a steep incline on the way. 

*" January 27<A. 1916.** 

The day after this first trial Mr. d'Eyncourt 
wrote to Lord Kitchener : — 

'* January 300, 1910. 

-MyLobd, 

**As the head of the Admiralty Committee 
entrusted with the design and manufacture of a trial 
machine to cross the enemy trenches, carrying guns 
large enough to destroy machine-guns, and to break 
through wire entanglements whilst giving protection to 
its own crew— conditions laid down by the War OflBce 



54 TANKS 

— ^I now have the honour to report that after much 
experimental work and trying several types, we have 
produced a machine complete with armament whidi 
amply fulfils all the requirements. 

*^This machine has had a satisfactory preliminary 
trial at Hatfield and proved its capacity, and I trust 
your Lordship may be able to come there and see a 
further trial on Wednesday afternoon next, February 
2nd, when you will have an opportunity of judging of 
its qualities yourself. 

^^ I have had some experience in the production of 
war material for H.M. Navy, and I am convinced that 
the machine you will see is capable of doing its work — 
work never before accomplished — and though as the 
first really practical one of its kind, it can no doubt be 
improved and considerably developed, yet as time is so 
important, and it will take three or four months to 
produce them in sufficient numbers, I venture to recom- 
mend that, to prevent delay, the necessary number be 
ordered inunediately to this model wiliiout serious 
alteration. While these are being manufactured we 
could proceed with the design and production of more 
formidable machines of improved type, with such 
modifications as your Lordship might approve. 

** I have the honour to be, etc. etc., 

" E. H. T. d'EvNcouBT. 

'' Field Marshal, 

"The Right Hon. Eael Rttcheneb, War Office.** 

On February 2nd, 1916, the second trial of the 
machine took place, when the following were 
present : — 

Field-Marshal the Right Hon. H. H. Earl Kitchener of 
Khartoum, K.G., G.C.B., O.M., G.C.S.L, 6.C.M.G., 
G.C.I.E. (Secretary of State for War). 

The Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P. 



■■rfi 



TRIALS -AND TRIALS 55 

Hie Rifi^t Hon. D. Lloyd George, M.P. 

Hie Rig^t Hon. R. McKenna, M.P. 

E. H. Tennyson d'Eyncourt, C.B. 

Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick T. Hamilton, K.C.B., 

C.V.O. 
Sir W. Graham Greene, K.C.B. 
Commodore D. M. de Bartolome, C.B. 
Hie Rig^t Hon. G. Lambert, M.P. 
Brigadier-General C. E. Corkran, CJtf.G. 
Major-General Butler. 
Major-General Sir S. B. Von Donop. K.C.B. (Master 

General of the Ordnance). 
Major-General H. G. Smith. CR. 
Lieut.-General Sir John S. Cowans, K.C.B., M.V.O. 

(Quarter-Master General to the Forces). 
Brigadier-General H. C. Nanton, C.B. 
G«ieral Rudyear. 
Lieut.-General Sir W. R. Robertson, K.C3., K.C.V.O., 

D.S.O. (Chief of the Imperial General Staff). 
Major-General R. D. Whigham^ C.B., D.S.O. (Deputy- 
Chief of the Imperial General Staff). 
Brigadier-General F. B. Maurice, C.B. (Director of 

Military Operations). 
Bt. Lieut.-Colonel A. A. G. FitzGerald, C.M.G. 

(Private Secretary to Secretary of State for War). 
The Hon. E. FitzGerald. 
Colonel H. E. F. Goold Adams, C JI.6. 
Lieut.-Colonel G. L. Wheeler. 
lieuta-Colond C. Evans, C Jtf.G. 
Colonel A. Lee, M. P. 
Major C. L. Storr. 
Major Segrave. 
Major H. O. Qogstoun, R.E. 
Captam T. G. Tulloch. 
Dudley Docker, Esq. 
Major Greg. 
J. Masterton Smith, Esq. 



56 TANKS 

Lieut.-Colonel M. Hankey, C.B. 
Lieut.-Colonel E. D. Swinton, D.S.O. 
Mr. F. Skeens. 
Major T. G. Hetherington. 
Lieut. W. G. Wason. 
Lieut. -Commander R. W. McGrath . 
Lieut. K. Sjrmes. 
Lieut. W. P. Wilson. 
Lieut. Donnelly. 
Lieut. G. K. Field. 
Mr. W. A. Tritton. 
Lieut. A. 6. Stem. 

The Right Honourable H. H. Asquith, M.P.p was 
unable to attend. 

Colonel Hankey arranged for Mr. McKenna, 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, to travel down to 
the Hatfield trials in my car. I explained to 
him our ideas of Mechanical Warfare and its 
value in the saving of life and shells. After 
the trials Mr. McKenna said that it was the 
best investment he had yet seen, and that if 
the military approved, all the necessary money 
would be available. 

Mr. Balfour, amongst others, took a ride in 
the Tank, but was removed by his fellow- 
Ministers before the machine tried the widest of 
the trenches. This was a trench more than nine 
feet wide which Lord Kitchener wished to see it 
cross, but which it had never attempted before. 

As Mr. Balfour was beiQg removed feet first 
through the sponson door he was heard to re- 
mark that he was sure there must be some more 
artistic method of leaving a Tank 1 



TRIALS -AND TRIALS 57 

Sir William Robertson was well satisfied with 
the machine. He left the ground early, owing to 
pressing business, but before he went he told me 
that orders should be immediately given for the 
construction of these machines. 

General Butler, who was at this time Deputy 
Chief of the General Staff to Sir Douglas Haig at 
the Front, asked how soon he could have some 
of them and what alterations could be made. I 
told him that no alterations could be made if he 
wished any machines that year, except to the 
loop-holes in the armour-plate. 

On February 8th His Majesty the King visited 
Hatfield, when a special demonstration was 
arranged. He took a ride in the Tank, and said 
afterwards that he thought such a weapon 
would be a great asset to the Army possessing 
a large number. 

A few days later Mr. d'Eyncourt wrote to 
Mr. Churchill, now a Colonel at the Front : — 






" AdmkaUy, 8.W. 

FfUmuary 140^ 1916. 

Deab Colonel Chxtbchill, 

** It 18 with great pleasure that I am now able 
to report to you tiie success 61 the first landship 
(Tanks we call them). The War Office have ordered 
one hundred to the pattern which underwent most 
successhil trials recently. Sir D. Haig sent some of 
his staff from the front. Lord Kitchener and Robertson 
also came, and members of Admiralty Board. The 
machine was complete in almost every detail and fulfils 
all the requirements finally given me by War Office. 
The official tests of trenches, etc., were nothing to it, 
and finally we showed them how it could cross a 9 feet 



68 TANKS 

gap after climbmg a 4 feet 6 inches high perpendicular 
parapet. Wire entanglements it goes through like a 
rhinoceros through a field of com. It carries two 
6-pounder guns in sponsons (a naval touch), and about 
800 rounds; also smaller machine-guns, and is proof 
against machine-gun fire. It can be- conveyed by rail 
(the sponsons and guns take off, making it lighter) and 
be ready for action very quickly. The King came and 
saw it and was greatly struck by its performance, as 
was every one else; in fact, they were all astonished. 
I wish you could have seen it, but hope you will be able to 
do so befotre long. It is capable of great development, 
but to get a sufficient number in time, I strongly urged 
ordering immediately a good many to the pattern which 
we know all about. As you are aware, it has taken 
much time and trouble to get the thing perfect, and a 
practical machine simple to make; we tried various 
types and did much experimental work. I am sorry it 
has taken so long, but pioneer work always takes time, 
and no avoidable delay has taken place, though I begged 
them to order ten for training purposes two months 
ago. After losing the great advantage of your influence 
I had some difficulty in steering the scheme past the 
rocks of opposition and the more insidious shoals of 
apathy which are frequented by red herrings, which 
cross the main line of progress at frequent intervals. 

^^ The great thing now is to keep the whole matter 
secret and produce the machines all together as a 
complete surprise. I have already put the manufac- 
ture in hand, under the sgis of the Minister of Munitions, 
who is very keen ; the Admiralty is also allowing me to 
continue to carry on with the same Conunittee, but 
Stem is now Chairman. 

^^ I enclose photo. In appearance, it looks rather 
hke a great antediluvian monster, especially when it 
comes out of boggy ground, which it traverses easily. 
The wheels behind form a rudder for steering a course. 



TRIALS -AND TRIALS 69 

and also ease the shock over banks, etc., but are not 
absolutely necessary, as it can steer and turn in its 
oim length with the independent tracks. 

** In condusion, allow me to offer you my congratulations 
on the success of your original project and wish you all 
good luck in your work at the front. 

" E. H. T. d'EYNcouET. 
** Colonel W. S. Churchill, 
** eth Royal Scots Fusiliers, 
** B.E.F., France.*' 

Colonel Churchill replied about a week later, 
saying how pleased he was and that he would 
like to see the machine. I wrote on March 8rd, 
saying we could show it him at Lincoln. 

As a result of the trials, Rear- Admiral F. C. B. 
Tudor, the Third Sea Lord, reported : — 

** I am convinced, if these Tanks are to be built in 
any reasonable time, it can only be done by putting the 
matter in the hands of an independent executive com- 
mittee with authority to order material and incur 
expenditure up to a fixed limit. 

^* I saw the demonstration in Hatfield Park on 29th 
inst. and was much impressed; the Tank carried out 
the official test with the greatest ease and also many 
other seemingly impossible tasks ; in fact, it is probably 
the only solution of the stalemate of trench warfare. 

** To my mind the right course would be to put in 
hand fifty madiines exactly similar to the experimental 
*Tank' immediately, spreading the orders for the 
various parts required over a large number of firms, as 
we have done in the case of submarine engines, and at 
the same time get out fresh designs for a much laiger 
tank, perhaps three times the length, with 8 feet pro- 
tection over fore part, the armament wei^ts being not 
necessarily increased. 



60 TANKS 



«c 



Such a machine would have no difficulty in crossing 
heayily-tiaversed trenches from any line of approach, 
without fear of capsiadng ; in fact, there is practically 
no limit to the development of this class of machine, 
except the cost." 

This was brought before the Admiralty Board, 
concurred in by Mr. Balfour and Admiral Jack- 
son, and the congratulations of the Board to the 
Director of Naval Construction were stamped 
and signed by Sir William Graham Greene. 

Finally, the Army Council wrote to the Ad- 
miralty on February 10th : — 

"Sm, 

^^ I am commanded by the Army Council to 
request that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty 
will convey the very warm thanks of the Army Council 
to Mr. E. H. T. d*Eyacourt, C.B., Director of Naval 
Construction, and his Committee, for their work in 
evolving a machine for the use of the Axmy, and to 
Mr. W. A. Tritton and Lieut. W. G. Wilson, R.N.A.S., 
for their work in design and construction. I am to 
state that their efforts in this connection have been 
highly appreciated by the Army Council. 

** I am to add that the work of the officers and men 
of No. 20 Squadron, R.NA.S., in assisting by construct- 
ing trenches, etc., in the experimoital work necessary 
to the production of the machine has been of valuable 

service. 

" I am. Sir, 

" Your obedient Servant, 

" B. B. CUBITT." 

The thanks of the War Office are thoroughly 
well-deserved, wrote Mr. Balfour. 



CHAPTER IV 

FIRST ORDERS 



CHAPTER IV 

FIBST OBDEBS 

Febrtuiry 1916 to September 1916 

Afteb the trial at Hatfield, Lord Kitchener 
asked me to go to the War Office as Head of 
the Department which the Inter-Departmental 
Conference of the Committee of Imperial Defence 
had recommended should be set up for the pro- 
duction of Tanks. I saw Major Storr, Lord 
Kitchener's Secretary, and later had two inter- 
views with Sir Charles Harris, the Assistant 
financial Secretary of the War Office. 

In the meantime Mr. Lloyd George sent for 
me and asked me if I would go to the Ministry 
of Munitions. I told him that Lord Kitchener 
had already asked me to go to the War Office, 
and he replied that it was not a matter for the 
War Office but for the Ministry of Munitions. 
I said that I was willing to undertake the pro- 
duction of Tanks in quantity within six months, 
but could only do so if given special powers. 
Mr. Lloyd George then asked me to write out 
a Charter which, if approved, he would sign. 
With the aid of Colonel F. Browning of the 
Ministry of Munitions, and Mr. P. Dale Bussell, 



64 TANKS 

I drafted the following Charter, which gave me 
exceptional powers. It was signed by Mr. Uoyd 
George on February 12th, 1916, subject to one 
paragraph being approved by Mr. Sam H. Lever, 
who was at that time Assistant Financial 
Secretary. 

^^The Bfinister of Munitions has h&d under con- 
sideration the report of the Inter-D^partmental 
Conunittee on the question of Tank Supply. 

**The Minister considers that now the question of 
design has been settled and it has been decided to 
arrange for earliest possible supply of 100 Tanks, the 
matter becomes one of supply which falls within the 
province of the Ministry of Munitions to arrange. 

** As, however, the Admiralty Committee has carried 
out the whole of the experimental construction and is 
fully acquainted with the details necessary for the pro- 
duction of a large nmnber of Tanks, the Minister agrees 
with the First Lord that the Committee should now 
become a Committee attached to the Department of 
Minister of Munitions and should carry on the work 
and arrange for the manufacture of the machines re- 
quired as an executive body working directly under the 
Minister of Munitions. 

** The composition of the Committee will be as shown 
on attached sheet, and the Admiralty has agreed to 
allow Admiralty members of the Committee to under- 
take these duties. Mr. d'Eyncourt, Director of Naval 
Construction, has consented to continue to super- 
intend the technical and experimental work of the 
Committee. 

** The Minister accordingly authorises the Committee 
to arrange manufacture of these machines, placing orders 
with contractors as necessary and corresponding direct 



\ ■ 

\ 1 



flf%^ 



SIR WILLIAM TRCTTON. (p. 30} 



FIRST ORDERS 65 

any Government Department ooncemed, also to 
incur any necessary expenditure in connection with 
engagement and remuneration of inspecting or other 
staff, experimental work, travelling and other incidental 
expenses. The Committee shall have the final decision 
in all matters coxmected with the manufacture and 
inspection of these machines, and shall have full power 
to depute to any one of their number any specific duties 
concerned with the above, and also to add to their 
number if necessary. The Minister of Munitions will 
grant all facilities required by the Committee for supply 
of labour and material to the Contractors for the Tanks. 
All payments for this work shall be made solely on the 
certifik»te of the Committee which shall be accepted 
as full and sufficient authority by all Departments con- 
cerned, and an imprest ^ of £50,000 is to be at once 
placed at the Committee's disposal for the experi- 
mental work. 

" D. L. G. 

" 12/2/16.'' 

The original constitution of the Tank Supply 
Conunittee was as follows : — 

Lieut. A. G. Stem, R.N.A.S., Director of Naval 
Construction's Committee (Chairman). 

E. H. T. d'Eyncourt, Esq., C3., Director of Naval 
Construction. 

lieut.-Colonel £. D. Swinton, D.S.O., R.E., Assistant 
Secretary, Conunittee of Imperial Defence. 

^ ** I concur subject to the word ' imprest * being 
changed to * authorisation.' 

** Sam H. Leveb, 
**D. of F. 

'•12/2A6." 



66 TANKS 

♦ 

Major 6. L. Wheeler, RJL» Director of Artillery's 
Branch, War Office. 

Lieut. W. 6. Wilson, ILNA.S., Director of Naval 
Construction's Committee. 

Lieut. K. SymeSi R J^.A.S., Director of Naval Con- 
struction's Committee. 

P. Dale Bussell, Esq., Director of Naval Con- 
struction's Committee, Contract Department, 
Admiralty. 

A day or two later Lieut.-Colonel Byrne and 
Captain T. 6. Tulloch of the Ministry of Munitions 
were added to the Committee. 

The Conmiittee formed, Mr. Lloyd G^rge then 
told me to get rooms for it at the Ministry of 
Munitions. Secrecy was the essence of Tanks. 
In all the business of the Landship Committee, 
and afterwards the Tank Supply Department, 
everything possible was done-*nd successfuUy- 
to keep the Tanks a secret. This resulted in 
many difficult situations. When I went across 
to the Ministry to get rooms after my interview 
with Mr. Lloyd George, I was refused, and my 
whole Department treated as a joke, owing to 
the fact that we were not allowed to explain 
what our business was. As a result I was forced 
to appropriate rooms, as the following minute 
from Sir Frederick Black (at that time Director- 
General of Munitions Supply) to Sir Arthur Lee, 
the Parliamentary Military Secretary, will show. 

**I understand that rooms have been appropriated 
in this building by Lieut. Stem and other members of 



FIRST ORDERS 67 

« 

the * Tank ' Committee in accordance with an intimation 
fiom the Ifinister's Private Secretary. 

** I am now asked whether this staff is working as a 
Committee merely housed in this building or whether 
they are considered to be part of our organisation and 
their correspondence handled accordingly. 

^*I do not know whether any recent change has 
taken place in the duties or composition of this Com- 
mittee which has been sitting at the Admiralty and 
I believe has, or had. War Office representatives upon 
it, but so far as I am aware no representative of the 



^* Colonel Lee will remember consulting with Director- 
General of Munitions Supply some short time ago wh^i 
an inquiry was made as to whether the supply of the 
mechanisms idiich the Conunittee was experimenting 
with could be taken over with advantage by tiiis 
Department of the Ministry. 

** After a joint consultation and some talk with the 
Secretary of the Committee, the opinion was formed 
that the medianisms in question had practically little 
or no affinity with our work. 

**I understand that the Committee has expended 
large sums of money and we have not hitherto been 
UBociated with their work. 

^^Is it now intended that this Department shall 
assume definite responsibility for supply ? If so arrange- 
ments will be proposed and the question of technical 
responsibility — ue. whether the Director-General of 
Munitions Design is associated with that side of the 
work — will need to be settled.'* 



Sir Arthur Lee replied :• 



^ I have discussed this curious situation with Lieut. 
Stem, and he has sent me the attached copy of the 



68 TANKS 

* Charter ' which the Minister handed to him. It appar- 
ently relieves you of any responsibility with regard 
to the business of the ' Tank Committee/ " 

To this Sir Frederick Black wrote : — 

^^ In order that efiect may be given to the Minister's 
instructions in regard to facilities for supply of materials, 
I propose to issue a confidential office memorandum to 
Deputy Directors-General and Directors." 

On Saturday, February 12th (the day on 
which the Charter was signed), all preparations 
having already been made, orders were tele- 
phoned and telegraphed to Messrs. W. Foster & 
Company, of Lincoln, and the Metropolitan 
Carriage Wagon and Finance Company to start 
the production of 100 machines. Orders were 
also given to Mr. P. Martin of the Daimler 
Company to supply 120 engines by the end of 
June. Complete drawings and other details were 
available, and a contract was arranged on 
Tuesday, February 15th, at Birmingham. 

Messrs. Beardmore, Messrs. Vickers, Ltd., and 
Messrs. Cammell Laird & Company, agreed to 
produce the necessary armour-plate. Owing to 
transport difficulties in Glasgow, Squadron 20 
were instructed to send at once two light lorries 
with drivers to assist the armour plate firms. 

Although^ the order was placed for Tanks 
which were to be proof against both German 
" S " and armour-piercing bullets, the Com- 
mittee had already in view a Tank which should 
also be proof against armour-piercing shell. On 



FIRST ORDERS 69 

February 14th, the following letter was sent to 
the War Office :— 

''I write to say that the Tank Supply Committee, 
as recommended by the Conference, with some slight 
modification, has been constituted, the Minister of 
Munitions having signed the Charter for its consti- 
tution under him on Saturday, February 12th, when 
informed that the War Office were writing to demand 
the supply of 100 machines. Orders for the engines 
and some other parts of the machines were sent out 
by telegraph and telephone the same day. 

*^ 2. The Tank Supply Committee, in addition to 
proceeding at once with the construction of the 100 
machines ordered according to the sample inspected, 
has at its disposal a considerable sum of money for 
experimental work which will be carried on separate 
from the construction of the 100 machines, and without 
in any way delaying their production. 

**8. As you loiow, the machine approved and now 
being produced is furnished with bullet-proof protec- 
tion alone. The Tank Supply Committee, however, 
propose to try and evolve another and superior type 
of machine, and the lines upon which their experiments 
are going are the following : — 

^* To produce a Tank which will not be only bullet- 
proof, but will be armoured so as to be proof against 
the hic^ explosive shell from German field-guns, and 
also the projectiles fired by the small calibre quick- 
firing artillery which it is believed the enemy may 
bring against them. 

^4. So far as can be seen at present, to fulfil this 
requirement will necessitate thicker armour or a double 
skin of annour, which will largely increase the weight to 
be carried* This may or may not mean a larger machine, 
but it will entail engines of greater power than those 



70 TANKS 

nsed at present. It is doubtful, however, if the dimbiiig 
capabilities of the machine, or its speed, will be much in- 
creased. It is not known whether the improved machine 
should carry 6-pounder guns as the present type, or 
whether an attempt should be made to carry, say, field- 
guns, or even something larger. 

**5. Since this heavier machine is in its embrj^nio 
state and the ideas are at present entirely fluid, it will 
be of great assistance to the Tank Supply Committee to 
know upon what lines the General Stafi consider the de- 
velopment of a superior machine should proceed. The 
following heads for this information are suggested : — 

** (a) The nature of the attack against whidi the armour 
is to be constructed. 

(b) The armament which the machine should carry. 

(c) The speed to be attained. 

(d) The climbing powers. 



cc 



All the above subject to the conditions that they are 
mechanical possibilities." 

The War Office replied :— 

^' I am directed to send you replies to the questions 
contained in the memorandum as follows : — 



14 

ii 

(i 
(C 



Q. I. The nature of the attack which the armour 

should be capable of resisting? 
A. 1. Field-gun fire. 
Q. 2. The armament which the machine should 

carry? 
A. 2. No increase on present pattern. 
Q. 8. The speed to be attained? 
A. 8. Top speed six miles per horn*. ^ 

Q. 4. The climbing power ? 



M 



FIRST ORDERS 71 

A. 4. To be capable of crossing a ditch 10 to 12 feet 
wide with a parapet 6 feet high and trench 
4 feet 6 inches wide on the far side. 

** I am to add that it is important that the machine 
diould not be increased in size to any great extent and 
the height should be kept down. If the reply to Q. 8 
and 4 involves any large increase in size the additional 
speedy etc., should be dropped.'' 

The first Report of the Tank Supply Depart- 
ment, dated Monday, February 28th, sixteen 
days after it was created, gives some idea of 
how the business was tackled. 






February 15th. — Offices in Hotel Metropole occupied. 

February 16th. — ^First Committee Meeting for con- 
struction of 100 Tanks and experimental work for 
type of machine embodying improvements laid 
down by the War Office. 

Main Contbactb 

^ Tanks.— Tht construction of 100 Tanks has begun 
under arrangements with Messrs. Foster & Com- 
pany, Ltd., of Lincoln (25), and the Metropolitan 
Carriage Wagon and Finance Company, Ltd. (75). 

^ Armowr Plates. — Orders have been given to Messrs. 
Cammell Laiid & Company, Ltd., Sheffield, Messrs. 
Vickers, Ltd., Sheffield, and Messrs. Beardmore & 
Company, Ltd., Glasgow. Plates have abeady 
been rolled and are in course of transit for 
machining. 

^Guns. — Negotiations ate in progress for supply of 
200 6-pounder Q.F. guns by Admiralty working in 
conjunction with the Deputy Director General (D). 

'* If oeftln^-^tim.— 400 Hotchkiss machine-guns have 



(( 



(( 



72 TANKS 

been asked for. Decision as to stocks and dips 
still to be decided. Anticipate no difificulties. 

Recoil Mountings for Gun Shields. — Negotiations for 
the manufacture of these are in progress. 

Ammunition. — ^100»000 rounds 6-pounder ammunition 
required (85,000 rounds high explosive reduced 
charge and 15,000 case shot). Drawings have 
been handed to Deputy Director-General (A) 
Departmoit for high explosive i^ells: drawings 
of case shot not yet to hand. Anticipate great 
difficulties. 

Periscopes. — Two suitable periscopes and telescopes 
for guns are under construction for early delivery." 



Lieut. Symes had been made responsible for 
the supply and inspection of all armour-plate; 
the Admiralty agreed to lend their inspector to 
overlook the construction of the Daimler engines ; 
Lieut. Wilson agreed that he would be able to 
supervise the work of the Metropolitan Company 
at Wednesbury and of Messrs. Foster & Company 
of Lincoln, and Mr. F. Skeens was lent to the 
Committee from the Admiralty by Mr. d'Eyncourt 
for armament work, and later elected a member 
of the Committee. 

The Admiralty now found that they were 
unable to provide more than 100 guns of the 200 
promised, and an order for 100 guns was given 
to Messrs. Armstrong, Whitworth & Company; 
100,000 shells were also ordered, and after a 
discussion whether black powder or high ex- 
plosive should be used, it was decided to use 
black powder. 

The use of case shot which we had suggested 



mm 



FIRST ORDERS 78 

was turned down by the War Office, and this is 
interesting, since it was again proposed some 
twelve months later, was adopted and found 
most satisfactory in the battles of 1918. 

Colonel Wheeler reported that Madsen guns 
would not be available, but it would be possible 
to supply Hotchkiss and Lewis guns. With 
these changes in our first suggestions we went 
on with the work. 

Early in March, Colonel Swinton was ap- 
pointed to the command of the Corps which was 
to man the Tanks. It was to be part of the 
Motor Machine-gun Corps. Later on, it changed 
its name to Heavy Branch, Machine-gun Corps, 
and still later to Tank Corps. I had held a 
commission as Lieutenant, R.N.y.R., but was 
transferred to the Motor Machine-gun Corps as 
a major on March 6th, 1916. In fact, I was 
veiy kindly given the first commission by Colonel 
Swinton in his new Corps. Shortly afterwards. 
Major Wilson, Captain Symes and Lieut. Rendle 
were appointed and placed under my orders. 
The reason for calling the Corps Heavy Branch, 
M.G.C., was to deceive the enemy and the 
inquisitive. 

A camp was taken near Bisley, and Lieut.- 
Colonel Bradley, D.S.O., put in charge. Most 
of the officers and men who were drafted had 
but a very vague idea of what they had to do, 
and the whole of the Heavy Branch was generally 
known as the ^^ hush-hush " crowd. 

Colonel Swinton and Colonel Bradley spent 



74 TANKS 

days going round to the various O.T.C.s all over 
the country picking out young officers with the 
necessary qualifications to act as Tank Com- 
manders, and no men were taken who had not a 
good experience of motors. 

The original organisation was authorised to 
consist of fifteen companies. Each company was 
to have two sections of six Tanks each, and the 
strength of a company to be fifteen officers and 
106 men. 

Colonel Swinton's intention was that as soon 
as the men had done a certain amount of ele- 
mentary training, he would form three battalions, 
each consisting of five companies, and it was 
with this idea that all the preliminary training 
was carried out. In this, as in many other 
matters in the early days of Tanks, Colonel 
Swinton's first views have been proved right by 
subsequent events. The organisation which was 
in use in the Tank Corps from January 1917, 
was battalion organisation, each battalion con- 
sisting of three companies of twenty-five Tanks, 
but Colonel Swinton's proposed arrangement 
was rejected by G.H.Q., France, as soon as the 
establishment was sent out by the War Office 
for their approval. They stated that they did 
not want battalions, but that the company was 
to be the tactical unit, and that companies must 
consist of twenty-five Tanks each. 

This meant altering the whole of the organisa- 
tion on which the Corps had worked at Bisley. 
Each company consisted of four sections, each 



FIRST ORDERS 75 

under the eommand of a captain, with six sub- 
alterns, commanding the six Tanks in the section. 
The total strength of a company was 28 ofificers 
and 255 other ranks. The companies were com- 
manded by Majors Tibbetts, McLlennan, Holford 
Walker, Summers, Nutt and Kyngdon. 

From Sfarch until about the middle of June 
all training was done at Bisley. It consisted, in 
addition to the ordinary recruits' training, of 
machine-gun and 6-pounder work, and the Navy 
was very helpful in allowing a considerable 
number of both officers and men to be put 
through special courses on the 6-pounders at the 
Naval Gunnery School at Whale Island. 

The question of protecting the Tank against 
shdl fire was now taken up, and a double skin 
was tried. It was discovered that a 1-inch plate, 
with half the metal stamped out, giving it the 
weight of A*inch plate, and placed one foot in 
front of the ordinary armour plate of the Tank, 
would detonate a German high explosive shell 
and prevent any damage. These experiments, 
however, proved of no practical value for the 
I, owing to the difficulties of construction. 



In the middle of March Mr. Glynn West, 
Controller of the Shell Department, was unable 
to obtain the regulation steel for the common 
pointed shell. He proposed using carbon steel, 
which is of slightly less penetrating power, and 
this was approved. 

Colonel Swinton at this time ordered a full- 
sized model of a Tank mounted oh a rocking 



76 TANKS 

platform, in order to train his men to the peculiar 
motion of the Tank. This was built by the 
Department but never used. 

For the object of guiding the Tank into action 
small signalling balloons, the shape of observation 
balloons, were ordered. 

Magnetos for the engines were ordered from 
America. This was the only part of the Tank 
which was not English, and later on, when the 
home industry was developed, the magnetos also 
were made in England. 

Prismatic peep-holes on the Tanks were fitted, 
but these were later discarded owing to the 
danger from breaking glass. 

On the 8rd of April the order for 100 Tanks 
was increased to 150, 50 to carry 6-pounder guns 
and 100 to carry machine-guns, and a week later 
the order was changed to 75 of each armament. 
Tests were now started by Lieut. Symes with a 
German field-gun on a 2-inch high tensile plate. 

The Committee took up other ideas besides 
Tanks. It designed a mechanical carriage for 
5-inch howitzers and 60-pounders, a carriage to 
take the gun, its ammunition and its crew, and 
its design was approved in April. It also built 
an experimental plough for laying telephone 
wires. One of our reasons for working on other 
things besides Tanks will be seen later. 

In France they were most anxious for the 
coming of the Tanks, and a letter, dated April 
26th, from Colonel Swinton to General Butler, 
informs Sir Douglas Haig of the dates for delivery. 



FIRST ORDERS 77 






Your letter of the 24th instant reached me 
to-day. Thanks for the promise of the R.£. officer. I 
am looking forward to his arrival. 

*^ About delivery^ I know how anxious the Commander^ 
in-Chief and you are to get some machines at an early 
date, and all of us here are equally anxious to expedite 
things in every possible way. 

^^ When I saw Sir Douglas Haig on Friday, the 14th, 
the idea was if possible to have some machines over in 
advance by the middle of June (not the 1st). I said that 
I feared it was not possible, but I deferred giving a final 
answer until I saw Stem, who had the manufacturers' 
progress charts. 

^* On Monday, the 17th, when you saw Stem and me 
together we said that to get any machines over by the 
middle of June would not be possible, but that we were 
doing all we could to shove on with the production. 

**In regard to this matter, upon which so much de- 
pends, it is best to be categorical as to what we expect can 
or cannot be done, and so to avoid disappointment and 
the reversal of plans. 
By IH June. 

No machines will be ready and no crews. 
By 1st July. 

Some practically finished madiines will have been 
delivered at home which will be in a fit state to move 
and so to instruct men to drive, but owing to their design 
they will not be fit to take the field, even if they are 
manned by madiine-guns and armed with M.6. supplied 
in France. 

** In regard to this I shall be able to give more definite 
information in four weeks' time. 
By 1st AugusL 
Tbe Supply Committee informs me that all the 



u 
u 
c« 



ct 



78 TANKS 

machines will be leady and some wiU already have been 
shipped to France — strikes and acts of God excepted. 

" The nimiber of crews that will be trained will depend 
on the rate at whidi the machines are received during 
July, but I anticipate that crews for seventy-five ' Tanks ' 
will be fully trained in any case. 

^ Stem leaves to-night for a tour of the works, after 
which we shall be in possession of more positive informa- 
tion, but it will certainly not alter the position on June Ist 
or July 1st. 

^* As regards the trial, the War QflBoe has just arranged 
to tak^ up pur ground at Thetford, and is arranging for 
troops to be sent there to dig our manoeuvre ground. I 
anticipate that by the middle of June, or the latter half, 
we shall have some partially finished Tanks down there 
which have been rushed there as soon as they are capable 
of movemait, to train men to drive. As soon as thete is 
anything to see there I will give ample warning, so that 
you can come over and frame your own ideas on the things. 

^' I am afraid this letter does not contain what you 
would have liked to hear, but it is the cold truth and 
shows the real situation." 



Other people were also very anxious to obtain 
Tanks — ^but not the kind we were building. 
The secret of our work was very well kept in the 
Ministry of Munitions, not even the Inqtdry 
Office being in possession of the true facts. 
This had its disadvantages, however, and caused 
us unnecessary work, for very frequently we 
had inquiries from enthusiastic manufacturers 
of gas, oil and water tanks, who were anxious 
to secure orders in their own particular lines. 

On one occasion a Staff Officer at the War 



FIRST ORDERS 79 

Office rang us up and asked if we were the 
"Tank" Department. On being told that we 
were, he asked when delivery of his oil tanks might 
be expected* He was politely informed that we 
could not tell him, as we were not building oil 
tanks* He then asked what sort of tanks we 
were interested in — gas or water — and on re- 
ceiving the reply that we were interested in 
neither, he got very much annoyed and banged 
his telephone-receiver down. 

On May 15th it was decided that the Tanks 
should be numbered, the 6-pounder Tanks from 
500 to 574, the machine-gun Tanks from 800 
to 874, and that, as a disguise, all should have 
painted on them in Russian characters, " With 
care to Petrograd." 

Two experiments were now made to protect 
the roof of the Tanks against bombs, one with 
splinter proof mattresses such as are used on 
battleships, the other with expanded metal. 
As a matter of fact, in the first battles a wood 
and wire penthouse roof was used, and thought 
to be unnecessary. After that no special device 
was tried. 

Luminous tape was prepared which, laid on 
the ground, was to guide the Tanks to their 
positions at night. The men who acted as Tank 
guides were also provided with electric lights on 
their backs, red and green, by means of which 
they signalled at night to the driver which way 
to turn. 

The Tank Supply Department also supplied 



80 TANKS 

the Tank Corps with its tractors and workshop 
wagons, which were specially designed for them 
and built by Messrs. Foster of Lincoln. 

On June 5th it was decided to paint the Tanks 
light grey. 

We now had Tanks avcdlable for training the 
men of the Corps, and Colonel Swinton had 
succeeded in getting lent to him a part of Lord 
Iveagh's estate at Thetford, in Norfolk. A 
large number of men of the Royal Engineers 
were sent there and dug an exact copy of a part 
of the line in France, and the Royal Defence 
Corps sent up two battalions who guarded every 
entrance to the ground, which was about five 
miles square. No one was allowed to go in 
without a pass, and prominent notices explained 
to the public that it was a dangerous explosive 
area. A story was current at the time among 
the local population that an enormous shaft 
was being dug from which a tunnel was to be 
made to Grcrmany. Here in the middle of June 
two of the six companies arrived and began to 
train with six Tanks each. This training went 
on until the middle of August. Several dis- 
plays were given there during the summer, and 
live 6-pounder shells were used. The King, Mr. 
Lloyd George and Sir William Robertson were 
among those who saw our displays, and in June 
Colonel Estienne, who later on was to command 
the French Tanks, visited the camp. 

There was great difficulty and delay in making 
the 6-pounder armour-piercing shell, and we 



MAJOR-GENERAL E. D. SWINTON. D.S.O. (f. 40] 



FIRST ORDERS 81 

finally discovered that the Japanese had some 
25,000 shells which were originally made by 
Armstrongs. These were shipped back to Eng- 
land for our use. 

On June 5th I saw General du Cane, Director- 
General of Munitions Design, and General Headlam 
with reference to the new 60-pounder Gun** 
carrying Tank, and it was decided that modified 
drawings should be pressed forward with all 
haste. We were unable, at the time, to get any 
further orders for Tanks, and we wanted to keep 
our works busy and avoid discontinuity oi 
production. 

Communication with a Tank was one of the 
greatest troubles, and at this time experiments 
were made with a daylight signalling lamp, with 
wireless and with semaphores. 

On June 10th it was decided to design and build 
a Tank capable of resisting field-guns. Mr. 
Tritton had already got out certain designs, and 
experiments were carried out at Shoebury with 
Beardmore plates of 1 inch, 1| inches, and 2 
inches thickness. An order was given to the 
Daimler Company to construct at once a double 
105 H.P. engine for this heavy Tank. It was, 
however, never completed. Mobility was thought 
to be a surer defence than heavy armour. 

On June 19th a model of the new gun-carrying 
machine was placed before the Ordnance Com- 
mittee and its principle explained. Major Wilson 
and Major Greg of the Metropolitan Company 
were also present. Instructions were 



82 TANKS 

from the Minister, Mr. Lloyd George, on the 
16th of June to proceed with the construction of 
fifty of this type of machine. A committee was 
formed to deal with this question. It consisted 
of Major Stem (Chairman), Mr. d'Eyncourt, 
Colonel Evans, Major Wilson, Captain Symes, 
Lieut. Holden and Major Dryer (representing the 
Ordnance Committee). Colonel Goold Adams, 
Director-General of Munitions Liventions, agreed 
to help. 

Mr. Norman Holden, who had been invalided 
out of the service after being severely wounded 
in the armoured car attack on the Peninsula of 
Gallipoli, joined my staff as my deputy at this 
time. 

Lieut.-Colonel Solomon J. Solomon, R.E., now 
undertook to camouflage the Tanks, and vras 
supplied with several tons of paint. 

About this time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was 
writing to the Press and pointing out that un- 
necessary casualties were caused by making 
frontal attacks on Grcrman machine-guns with 
unprotected infantry. He suggested that light 
armour should be worn, and that the authorities 
were wasting lives by not using it. 

Mr. Montagu asked me to see him and to show 
him that we were doing something still better to 
protect the infantry by mechanical means from 
mechanical guns. He was very much interested 
in our developments. 

From that time I kept in close touch with 
him, knowing his great Imowledge of the history 



FIRST ORDERS 88 

of war. I told htm that our idea was that once 
we had Tanks in large numbers we could bring 
back the element of surprise which was now 
entirely lacking in the attack. Although he 
believed in mechanical warfare, he doubted this. 
He doubted it until the battle of Cambrai in 
November 1917, when he wrote to me : — 

** OrawboraugK 

** KoMNber 29nd. 

Ht dear Stebn, 

*^ I think your tactical ideas have been brilliantly 
vindicated by this battle, and that you should have wami 
congr at ulations from all who know the facts. 

** Youis very truly, 

** A. CoMAN Doyle.'* 

It was rumoured at this time, also, that in* 
formation was leaking out from Birmingham, and 
twelve men and one woman, who were working 
for a Swiss company at the Metropolitan Works, 
were closely watched. One of the men wished 
to return to Switzerland, but was interned. 

I was pressing all the time for further orders, 
but on the 10th of July a letter was sent to the 
Director of Staff Duties by Brigadier-General 
Burnett Stuart from 6.H.Q., France, asking 
that further orders should be delayed. He 
wrote: — 

^ It is hardly possible to decide now, with the know- 
ledge at our disposal, whether more Tanks should bu 
ordered or tiie type dianged. 



84 TANKS 

** Before oay judgm^it can be fonned it will be neces- 
sary to see at least twenty Tanks fully equipped and 
manned* functioning in accordance willi some definite 
tactical scheme. It will also be necessary to view the 
French experiments, which they have informed us that 
they propose to hold shortly with their Tanks. 

**Can you say, please, for how long a decision may 
be deferred without endangering the continuity of 
manufacture?" 

This letter was sent on to Colonel Swinton, who 
wrote back on July 12th : — 

**The reply to the question in the last paragraph of 
the letter from 6.H.Q., France, which was enclosed, is 
as follows : The decision as to a further supply of Tanks, 
if it is affirmative, should be immediate. 

^^ As regards tiie manufactiure it is a question of engines, 
guns, gun mountings, gun ammunition and various small 
parts. The absolute continuity of supply is, as a matter 
of fact, already broken, but so far the ^lled men have 
not been dispersed. 

^^ There is one other point in regard to the matter to 
which I have not made any allusion, and that is the question 
of the provision of personnel. So far the Heavy Section 
has been able to obtain a very good class of man — one 
quite above the average — ^but I rather imagine that the 
source of supply is to some extent exhausted. In the 
event of the supply of more Tanks, therefore, we cannot 
count on obtaining men of the stamp necessary from the 
open market, and to man a special Corps, as the Heavy 
Section is, with the personnel of inferior quality would be 
fatal. The work needs men of some education, a mechani- 
cal bent, good physique and intelligence. In the event 
of the development of this branch being required I would 
suggest that the most satisfactory way of obtaioing the 



FIRST ORDERS 85 



I. -It. • 



vrovid be to transfer the personnel of some 
existing unit which is trained in somewhat similar duties 
to the Heavy Section; for instance, men of the Royal 
Marine Artillery would, I think, be eminently suitable 
for duty with the Heavy Section, as they are trained in 
gunnery, madiine-gmmery and in machinery. I refer 
to this subject because it is germane to that of time. If 
more Tanks are to be constructed it will be essential to 
take the requisite number of men en bloc from some 
existing formation, and that at the same time as it is 
decided to increase the Heavy Section. 

'* Further I would add that an early decision is neces- 
sary, because any increase in the number of Tanks will 
necessitate a trmendous expansion of the ancillary 
services connected with the maintenance and repair of 
the unit, the importance of which we are only just beginning 
to be in a position to gauge." 

About this time I found it very difficult, as a 
Supply Department, to work with a Committee, 
some of whom wished every point referred to 
them. After reflection I decided that the only 
way to work successfully was to turn it into an 
Advisory Committee. At a meeting of the Com- 
mittee I proposed this. I explained that I and 
my Department could alone be held responsible 
on questions of supply, that the different members 
of the Committee had been appointed for their 
very special knowledge on particular subjects 
and had given invaluable advice individuaUy, 
and that it was the name of '' Supply Committee " 
alone that had caused any misunderstanding as 
to the duties of its members. The resolution 
was carried unanimously and was approved by 



86 TANKS 

the Minister of Munitions, Mr. Montaga. I was 
then appointed Director of the Tank Supply 
Department, with Lieut. Norman Holden as my 
assistant, and the powers and duties of the Com- 
mittee were transferred to me. Mr. d'Eyncourt 
agreed to act as Chief Adviser on all technical 
and experimental matters, and Mr. P. Dale 
Bussell to assist in matters of general organisation 
and procedure. 

At the end of July we were told that the War 
Office proposed to send a few Tanks out to 
France at once. They were, however, in such a 
state of repair that it would take two months at 
least to get them ready. 

I immediately went down with Colonel Sykes 
to the Repair Shop Unit of the Heavy Branch 
of the Machine-gun Corps at Thetford and found 
that it was totally inadequate to cope with the 
work of tuning up the Tanks in a hurry. In 
those days the machinery and skill needed for 
taking off the track were not developed in any 
way. 

I returned to the War Office and told them 
that I would guarantee to have all the machines 
put in order within ten days. Then I went to 
Birmingham and asked for volunteers from the 
employees of the Metropolitan Carriage Wagon 
and Finance Company to get the Tanks ready 
within a week to go to France. ' 

I told them that the accommodation and food 
would be difficult to find, but without the slightest 
hesitation Mr. Wirrick of the Metropolitan Com- 



ORDERS 87 

pany and forty men started for Thetford. They 
were billeted by the Chief Constable. The diffi- 
culty was the food. The Army could not supply 
it. I therefore went to Colonel Thornton, Genersd 
Manager of the Great Eastern Railway, and he 
immediately put a restaurant car on a siding at 
the camp, and fed the men until the work was 
done. It took them less than ten days. 

This is only one of the instances of the magnifi- 
cent patriotism and unselfishness of the in- 
dustrial workers, who were ready to labour night 
and day for the Tanks, from the making of the 
first experimental machine until the Armistice 
was signed in November 1918. 

Meanwhile, Mr. d'Eyncourt and I saw Sir 
William Robertson. We were most anxious that 
the Tanks should not be used until they had 
been produced in large numbers. We urged him 
to wait until the spring of 1917, when lai^e 
mimbers would be read^. I also wrote to the 
Minister of 



*• AttguM M; 1918. 

** I beg to refer to our ccmveis&tion regarding tlie order 
for 100 Tanks. My Department was originally given an 
Older to produce 100 Tanks widi neoessaiy q)arefl^ and I 
was under the impression that tiiese would not be used 
until llie order had been completed, therefore the qpares 
would not, in the ordinaiy way, be available until the 
100 madiines were completed. 

^ FVom the co n versations I have had with Mr. Uoyd 
Gebige and General Sir William Robertson, and informa- 
tion received from G>lonel Swinton, I bdieve it is in- 



88 TANKS 

tended to send small numbers oi these machines out at 
the earliest possible date, and I b^ to inform you that 
the machines cannot be equipped to my satisfaction before 
the 1st of September. I have therefore made arrange- 
ments that 100 madiines shall be completed in every 
detail, together with the necessary spares, by the 1st of 
September. This itf from the designer's and manufac- 
turer's point of view, which I represent. 

" I may add that in my opinion the sending out of 
partially equipped machines, as now suggested, is courting 






I had seen Mr. Lloyd George, the Secretary 
of State for War, and he heartily agreed with 
me, but on the other side it was urged that the 
heavy casualties in the Somme offensive of July 
1st, the want of success against the German lines 
since then, and the approach of winter without 
any appreciable advance having been made, all 
tended to lower the moral of the troops, and it 
might therefore be necessary to use these new 
weapons in order to raise it again. Our reasons 
for desiring to wait until the spring were under- 
stood, but we must be prepared to throw every- 
thing we had into the scale. The slightest 
holding back of any of oui resources might, 
at the critical moment, make the difference 
between defeat and victory. Such were the 
arguments used. 

The French also had begged us to delay until 
their own Tanks were ready for action. M. J. L. 
Breton, the Under-Secretary of State for Inven- 
tions, had pressed M. Thomas, their Minister of 



FIRST ORDERS 89 

Munitions, to build Tanks in large numbers; 
he was very anxious that the French should 
share in the first surprise, and, when this was 
impossible, urged that they should continue to 
buUd as rapidly as possible. It was on September 
28th9 just after the first Tank battle, that he 
wrote: — 

^ I think it is now tinneoessary to labour the imperative 
need for pressing forward with the construction of our 
offensive caterpillar machines as quickly as ever it is 
possible to do so. 

^ The English, by using prematurely the engines which, 
to their credit, they constructed much more repidly than 
oundves, have debaned us of the use of the element of 
suiprise^ which should have enabled us easily to pierce 
the enemy's lines, though they have more or less lendered 
us the service of convincing even the most sceptical and 
most red-tape bound.*' 

He urged his views again in a letter of October 
2ath:— 



** It seems to me more than ever indispensable to take 
steps towards pushing on with the construction of more 
powerful machine^ better armed, and, above all, more 
heavily aimouied. 

*^The heart-breaking precipitation of the Engtish in 
prematurely using their machines, before we were in a 
condition to deliver to the enemy the decisive blow — 
whidi putting into the line several hundred of our machines 
would have enabled us to do— unfortunately no longer 
allowed us to anticipate theeffectof theekmentof surprise, 
wfaidi would have been irresistible." 

At the begiiming of September, Mr. Montagu 



90 TANKS 

saw Sir Douglas Haig himself, and found him 
most sympathetic in hearing the views of those 
^o were working and thinking and inventing at 
home, but he held out little hope of keeping the 
Tanks until the spring. They would have to be 
used that autumn and used soon. 

So it was arranged. The Tanks at Thetford 
were entrained at night and taken by rail to 
Avonmouth. There they were shipped to Havre, 
taken to a village near Abbeville and from there 
sent up to a point fifteen miles behind the line. 
Moving Tanks was in those days a very difficult 
business. The sponsons, each weighing 85 cwt. 
(gun included), had to be unbolted and put on 
separate trucks, and in that journey from Thet- 
ford to the front Tanks and sponsons were 
loaded and unloaded five times. The first party 
of the men of the Heavy Machine-gun Corps 
crossed to France on August 18th. Other parties 
followed, and on September 15th, seven months 
after the first order was given by Mr. Lloyd 
George, the Tanks went into action. 



i*:— -*H 



CHAPTER V 

TANKS IN ACTION 



Tanks attftck in Thiepval, i9>6- ip S5) 



The kind of ^rountl our Tanks had to work on. Everywhere shell-pocked. 1916, if. 95f 



I* 



CHAPTER V 

TANKS IN ACTION 

September 1916 to October 1916 

The Tanks were already in France and waiting 
to go into battle, but the secret had been well 
kept, how well was shown by a thing that hap- 
pened on the very morning in September when 
I was leaving for the Sonmie for the first Tank 
action. 

A civil servant, an Assistant Secretary, came 
to see me on this eventful morning just as I was 
starting. 

He told me that as my Department was of no 
real importance, since he had no knowledge 
what it was, he had arranged that during the 
next Sunday all my papers and drawings were 
to be moved out into a small fiat in a back street 
opposite the Hotel Metropole. 

This was no time to argue ; my train left in a 
few minutes ; once more the famous Squadron 20 
to the rescue. I told him that the Depart- 
ment could not move, as it was concerned in 
matters of the greatest national importance, 
and would require before long a very large 
building of its own. This had no effect on him, 
so I gave instructions to one of my officers in 

03 



94 TANKS 

his presence to put an armed guard on my office 
while I was away, and to resist any attack. 
Should he make an attempt he was to be arrested, 
taken to Squadron 20's headquarters at Wemb- 
ley, tied to a stake for twenty-four hours and the 
reason carefully explained to all and sundry, 
especially newspaper reporters. 

Fortunately for him no attempt was made, 
but on my return we were offered, amongst 
other buildings, the Colonial Institute and the 
Union Club. Finally, we took Nos. 14, 17 and 
19, Cockspur Street, and even these blocks of 
buildings proved too smaU. 

I arrived late at night on September 16th at 
Beauquesne, Advanced Headquarters, and found 
that an old friend of mine, Major A. H. Wood, 
was Town Major. Here I met Colonel EUes, 
who originally came to Hatfield for the B.E.F., 
and from him I learnt of the great victory of 
the Tanks the day before. 

In this, their first battle, forty-nine Tanks were 
used, but of these seventeen did not reach their 
starting-point. They were either ditched on 
the way or broke down through mechanical 
trouble. The ground over which the remaining 
thirty-two attacked had been heavily " crumped '^ 
in places, but the weather had been fine and dry, 
so that the ground was not unfavourable. The 
tactical idea for their use was that they should 
work in sub-sections of two or three machines 
against strong points. 

Every Tank was given the route that it was to 



TANKS IN ACTION 95 

follow, and the time that it was to leave the 
starting-pomt. In most cases this was half an 
hour before zero, which was fixed for dawn, so 
that the Tanks should reach the German trenches 
five minutes ahead of the infantry. 

The risk of these tactics was that the Tanks, 
by starting before the infantry, might pre- 
maturely draw the enemy's fire, but this risk it 
was decided to take* When our own barrage 
came down on the enemy's front line it left 
lanes free from fire, and by these lanes the Tanks 
were to advance. 

The seventeen that worked with the 15th 
Corps were the most successful. Their starting- 
points were round Delville Wood, and eleven of 
them crossed the German trenches. One gave 
great help to the infantry when held up by wire 
and machine-gun fire before Flers itself. Its 
commander put it across the trench, which he 
raked with his fire, then, travelling along behind 
the trench, he captured 800 prisoners. 

Another Tank pushed into Gueudecourt and 
attacked with its 6-pounders a Crcrman field 
battery of the same calibre as our 18-pounders. 
It destroyed one gun, and was then hit and caught 
fire. Only two of its crew got back, but the 
total casualties of the Tank crews were very 
small. 

Altogether, of the thirty-two which reached 
their starting-points, nine went ahead of the 
infantry, causing great loss to the enemy; nine 
more, though the infantry got ahead of them. 



96 TANKS 

did good work in demolishing strong points 
where the enemy still held out. The remaining 
fourteen broke down or were ditched.^ 

On Sunday, the 17th, Sir Douglas Haig ap- 
peared in front of General Butler's offices and 
congratulated Colonel Swinton and me. He 
said, " We have had the greatest victory since 
the battle of the Marne. We have taken more 
prisoners and more territory, with comparatively 
few casualties. This is due to the Tanks. 
WherevCT the Tanks advanced we took our 
objectives, and where they did not advance we 
failed to take our objectives." He added : 
^^ Colonel Swinton, you shall be head of the 
Tank Corps; Major Stem, you shall be head of 
the Construction of Tanks. Go back and make as 
many more Tanks as you can. We thank you." 

A few days later Mr. d'Eyncourt and I were 
received by Sir Douglas Haig. He again said, 
" Go home and build as many Tanks as you can, 
subject to not interfering with the output of air- 
craft and of railway trucks and locomotives, of 
which we are in great need." 

At last our contention had been proved. We 
had always been convinced that mechanics 
applied to war would save life, just as mechanics 
applied to industry saved labour; that since 
there were limits to human endurance we must 
use steel instead of flesh and muscles, and that 

^ I have an interesting relic of the battles of the Tanks 
on the Somme. See Mr. Ashmead Bartlett's letter in 
Appendix I. 



TANKS IN ACTION 97 

the only way to meet the machine-gun was with 
armour-plate. 

That day I motored to Amiens for lunch with 
Major Wood and went to Bray-en-Somme, where 
the Tanks were parked at a place called ^^ The 
Loop'' — new Tanks and battered Tanks to- 
gether. I met my brother, Major Stem, and 
Colonel Thynne, in command of a composite 
regiment of South Irish Horse and Wiltshire 
Yeomanry, and took them over to see the Tanks, 
which had created an inmiense sensation. We 
met the cavalry returning from the battle front. 
They had not been used. The lesson had still 
to be learnt that until the Tanks could overwhelm 
the machine-gunners there could be no chance 
for the cavalry. 

I dined with General Butler at his mess, and 
left by car for Paris on Monday morning, Sep- 
tember 18th, at 9 a.m., with General Butler and 
Colonel Swinton, to see what the French were 
doing in the way of Tanks. 

We arrived in Paris in time for lunch, saw the 
first French Tank at Marly and Grcneral Estienne, 
the first Conmiander of the French Tank Corps 
(Artillerie chars d'assaut). 

After dinner we motored to Boulogne, arriving 
about 2 a.m. There a destroyer was awaiting 
us. It was not supposed to leave until day- 
break^ but Captain Evans, of South Pole fame, 
took us on board at once, and we reached Folke- 
stone within an hour. London we reached by 
car before nine o'clock on Tuesday morning. 



98 TANKS 

At 10.80 a.m. I had a meeting at the War 
Oflftce with the Secretary of State for War, 
Mr. Lloyd George, General Butler, (Jeneral Whig- 
ham, and Dr. Addison, representing the Minister 
of Munitions (Mr. Montagu, the Minister of 
Munitions, was abroad at the time). 

At this meeting General Butler said that Sir 
Douglas Haig required 1000 Tanks to be con- 
structed at once. After discussion it was de- 
cided that this should be done, and orders were 
immediately placed with the manufacturers. 
This order meant the building of 80,000 tons of 
armoured vehicles, besides at least 1000 6- 
pounder guns and 6,000 machine-guns. 

The mere tactical record of what the Tanks 
did at Flers and Gueudecourt gives no idea of the 
moral effect of the first appearance of this new 
and strange weapon. It astonished and terrified 
the enemy. It astonished, delighted and amused 
its friends. War Correspondents vied with each 
other to find the vivid, unexpected word that 
would do justice to its half-terrible, half-comic 
strangeness (and yet give away no secrets), and 
the humorists of the battalions sharpened their 
wits on it. They conununicated their gaiety, 
through their letters, to the people at home. 
The j oiliest, most fantastic of them all was a 
letter from a soldier to his sweetheart, which 
appeared in the newspapers at the time. It 
could not be left out of a book on Tanks. 



it 



They can do up prisoners in bundles like straw- 



TANKS IN ACTION 99 

faindeTfl, and, in addition, have an adaptation of a 
printing machine, which enables them to catch the 
Huns, fold, count, and deliver them in quires, eveiy 
thirteenth man being thrown out a little further than 
the others. The Tanks can truss refractory prisoners 
like fowls prepared for cooking, while their equi|nnent 
renders it possible for them to charge into a crowd 
of Huns, and by shooting out spokes like porcupine 
quills, carry off an opponent on each. Though * stuck- 
up,* the prisoners are, needless to say, by no means 
proud of their position. 

**They can chew up barbed wire and turn it into 
munitions. As they run they slash their tails and dear 
away trees, houses, howitzers, and anything else in the 
vicinity. They turn over on their backs and catch 
live shells in their caterpillar feet, and they can easily 
be adapted as submarines; in fact, most of them 
crossed the Channel in this guise. They loop the 
loop, travel forwards, sideways and backwards, not 
only with equal speed, but at the same time. They 
spin 'round like a top, only far more quickly, dig 
themselves in, bury themselves, scoop out a tunnel, 
and come out again ten miles away in half an 
hour." 

A little later on I took Mr. Wells to Birming- 
ham to show him how his idea had at last been 
realised. He wrote an article on what he saw, 
prophesying, as only he could, what would 
come of these new weapons, and urging that the 
factories should not be robbed of the men who 
could build them. At the time the article was 
forbidden by the Censor. I will quote from it 
his description of the Tanks. It was one of the 
earliest authentic descriptions written at a time 



100 TANKS 

when so much was appearing in print that was 
entertaining but untrue. 

** aclo60r» 1910. 

''Tanks 

'' The young of eyen the most humble beasts have 
something piquant and engaging about them, and so I 
suppose it is in the way of things that the land iron- 
clad, which opens a new and more dreadful and de« 
structiye phase in the human folly of warfare, should 
appear first as if it were a joke. Never has any sudi 
thing so completely masked its wickedness under an 
appearance of genial silliness. The Tank is a creature 
to which one naturally flings a pet name; the fiye or 
six I was shown wandering, rooting, and climbing 
over obstacles, round a large field near X——, were as 
amusing and disarming as a Utter of Uyely young pigs. 

^^ In a little while there will probably be pictures of 
these things available for the pubUc; in the mean- 
while, I may perhaps give them a word of description. 
They are like large slugs; with an underside a little 
like the flattened rockers of a rocking horse; slugs 
between 20 and 40 feet long. They are like flat-sided 
slugs, slugs with spirit, who raise an inquiring snout, 
like the snout of a dogfish, into the air. They crawl 
upon their beUies in a way that would be tedious to 
describe to the inquiring specialist. They go over the 
ground with the sliding speed of active snails. Behind 
them trail two wheels supporting a flimsy tail, wheels 
that strike one as incongruous as if a monster began 
kangaroo and ended doll's perambulator. These wheels 
annoy me. They are not steely monsters; they are 
painted the drab and unassuming colours that are 
fashionable in modem warfare, so that the armour 
seems rather like the integument of a rhinoceros. At 
the sides of the head project armoured cheeks, and 



TANKS IN ACTION 101 

from above these stick out guns that look very like 
stalked eyes. That is the general appearance of the 
contemporary Tank* 

*^It slides on the ground; the silly little wheels 
that so detract from the genial bestiality of its appear- 
ance dandle and bump behind it* It swings roimd 
about its axis. It comes to an obstacle — a low wall, let 
us say, or a heap of bricks — and sets to work to climb 
with its snout* It rears over the obstacle, it raises its 
straining belly, it overhangs more and more, and at 
last topples forward ; it sways upon the heap, and then 
goes plunging downwards, sticking out the weak counter- 
poise of its Reeled tail. If it comes to a house or a 
tree or a wall, or such like obstruction, it rams against 
it so as to bring all its weight to bear upon it — ^it weighs 
iome tons — and then climbs over the debris* I saw it, 
and incredulous soldiers of experience watched it at 
the same time, cross trenches and wallow amazingly 
through muddy exaggerations of shell holes* Then I 
repeated the tour inside* 

** Again the Tank is like the slug. The slug, as 
every biological student knows, is unexpectedly com- 
plicated inside. The Tank is as crowded with inward 
parts as a battleship* It is filled with engines, guns 
and ammunition, and in the interstices, men. 

You will smash your hat,* said Colonel Stem. 
No, keep it on, or else you will smadi your 
head/ 

'' Only Mr. C. R. W. Nevinson could do justice to 
the interior of a Tank* You see a hand gripping some- 
thing; you see the eyes and forehead of an engineer's 
face; you perceive that an overall blueishness beyond 
the engine is the back of another man. * Don't hold 
that,* says some one* * It is too hot. Hold on to that.' 
The engines roar, so loudly that I doubt Aether one 
oonld hear guns without; the floor begins to slopci and 



4» « 



102 TANKS 

slopes until one seems to be at forty-five degrees or 
thereabouts; then the whole ooncem swings up» and 
sways and slants the other way. You have crossed a 
bank. You heel sideways, llirough the door, which 
has been left open, you see the Uttle group of engineers, 
staff officers and naval men receding and falling away 
behind you. You straighten up and go uphill. You 
halt and begin to rotate. Through the open door, the 
green field with its red walls, rows of worksheds and 
forests of chimneys in the background, begins a steady 
processional movement. The group of engineers and 
officers and naval men appears at the other side of the 
door and further off. Thai comes a sprint downhill. 
You descend and stretch your legs. 

^^ About the field other Tanks are doing their stunts. 
One is struggling in an apoplectic way in the mud pit 
with a cheek half buried. It noses its way out and on 
with an air of animal relief. 

^^They are like jokes by Heath Robinson. One 
forgets that these tUngs have already saved the lives 
of many hundreds of our soldiers and smashed and 
defeated thousands of Germans. 

*' Said one soldier to me : ^ In the old attacks you 
used to see the British dead lying outside the machine* 
gun emplacements like birds outside a butt with a 
good shot inside. Naa>^ these things walk through.' '* 

That no time should be wasted and that both 
the French and we should get the best results, 
I decided to arrange for a conference in Paris at 
which all our engineers should meet all the 
French engineers engaged on Mechanical War- 
fare, and further that the whole party should go 
to the Front to inspect our Tanks and see the 
results of the battle. Mr. Lloyd George gave me 



TANKS IN ACTION 108 

a letter to his friend, M. Thomas, the French 
Ifinister of Munitions. 

The development of Mechanical Warfare in 
France was due very largely to two men : on the 
military side, to General Estienne; on the 
civilian side, to M. J. L. Breton, Under-Secretary 
of State for Inventions. 

General Estienne was a great believer in the 
small Tank which could be quickly carried by 
lorry to the battle-field, for attack or counter- 
attack, and the first French Tanks constructed 
by the two big French armament firms of 
Schneider and St. Chamond were, like our 
experimental machine at Lincoln, merely steel 
boxes placed on copies of the Holt track. When 
tried they did not prove a success. General 
Estienne then consulted M. Louis Renault, 
famous for the Renault motor-car, and he de- 
signed and produced in thousands a light Tank 
which played a big part in Marshal Foch's great 
counter-attack in July, 1018. None of the 
French Tanks were able to cross large trenches, 
such as our Tanks could cross (the Schneider and 
the St. Chamond, owing to their design, the 
Renault, owing to its small size); but in the 
battle of July, 1918, fought on ground where 
the Germans at the end of their advance had had 
little time to fortify themselves, they were not 
called upon to cross specially-prepared trenches 
such as the Hindenburg Line. 

Besides General Estienne, with his great mili- 
tary experience and enthusiasm. Mechanical 



104 TANKS 

Warfare in France owed much to the officers 
under him, notably Commandant H. Michel, 
Capitaine de Poix, and, later, General Monhover 
and Capitaine Communeau. 

Nor would the larger development of Tanks in 
France ever have taken place had it not been for 
the broad-minded enthusiasm and intelligence of 
Colonel Aubertin, who was in charge of all Tank 
matters at the French War Office, under M. 
Clemenceau, the Minister of War. He eliminated 
all ^^red tape" and worked most loyally and 
enthusiastically with ourselves and, later on, with 
the Americans also. His deputy, Capitaine Par- 
ville, reflected the qualities of his chief. 

It was an undertaking to get everybody 
assembled and transported to the Front, espe- 
cially civilians, with all the restrictions imposed 
both in the French and English zones. However, 
before the end of the week (September 28rd) our 
party had started for Paris. It consisted of 
Mr. d'Eyncourt, Captain Holden, Commander 
McGrath, Captain Symes, Major Wilson, Mr. 
Skeens, and Major Buddicom; Mr. Tritton of 
Messrs. Foster; Mr. Brackenbury and Colonel 
Hadcock of Messrs. Armstrong, Whit worth ; Mr. 
Searle, representing the Daimler Company; Mr. 
E. Squires, Major Greg and Mr. Stockton of the 
Metropolitan Carriage Wagon & Finance Com- 
pany, and myself. The day before, the War 
Office agreed to my being made temporary 
Lieut.-Colonel, with authority to wear badges of 
rank on going to France. 



TANKS IN ACTION 105 

We arrived in Paris and saw the French Tanks. 
We' met General Mouret and General Estienne. 
We met the representatives of the two French 
firms, M. Deloulle and M* Brillie of Schneider, 
and Dr. Laurens Dutilh and Colonel Remailho of 
St. Chamond. We visited the Schneider factory 
at St. Ouen near Paris. 

It was very strange that at the Conference 
between the English and French engineers at 
Marly, on the Tank ground there, it was dis* 
covered that few of the Frenchmen could talk 
English and few of the English could talk French, 
but both could — ^up to a certain point — ^talk 
German, and it was by means of this language 
that they made each other understood. 

On September 26th, very early in the morning, 
we set out by car, an Anglo-French party of 
thirty-five, for the Loop where the Tanks were 
parked. At Amiens we lunched, and there I had 
enormous difficulties with the A.P.M. getting 
White Passes for the whole party. In the end 
we reached the Loop, inspected the Tanks and 
saw one of them give an exhibition of crossing 
a deep road. I arrived back in London on 
Thursday, the 28th of September. 

In order to get going on the big order, we had 
to increase the armour-plate capacity, and in 
addition to Beardmore, Cammell Laird and 
Vickers, we brought in Edgar Allen, Armstrong 

Whitworth, Firth's and Hadfields. 

« 

The chief difficulty in producing Tanks in 
numbers was to get engines, and we at once took 



106 TANKS 

steps to find engines in America of the necessary 
horse-power. Our efforts were not successfiil, 
and an arrangement was* made with the Daimler 
Ck>mpany to supply us. 

On October 16th a further 100 Tanks were 
ordered to keep the factories going until the 
design for the 1000 had been settled. 

The order for gun-carrying Tanks was now 
reduced from fifty to forty-eight, the remaining 
two being made into Labour-Saving Salvage 
machines for Tanks, fitted with cranes on top. 

In order to build the first Tanks without any 
avoidable delay, it had been necessary to use 
only existing designs of engines and transmissions. 
Consequently, the transmission was not ideal, 
the steering being done by putting a brake on 
the differential of the old 105 H.P. tractor. 
When it was seen that the Tanks were a success, 
I decided that every transmission that had any 
possible chance of success should be built experi- 
mentally. On the 8rd of October the orders 
were given. Mr. Tritton was to carry out an 
idea of his own, a double-engine Tank (known as 
the " Whippet "), which was to be steered by 
accelerating one engine or the other ; the Daimler 
Company were to construct a petrol electric 
transmission of their own; Mr. Merz was to 
design and build an ordinary electrical tramway 
transmission, with the British Westinghouse ; 
Mr. Wilson, with Messrs. Vickers, was to build a 
Williams- Janney hydraulic transmission; the 
Hele-Shaw Company their hydraulic transmis- 



TANKS IN ACTION 107 

sion ; the Metropolitan Company Major Wilson's 
epicyclic and also Wilkin^s system of multiple 
clutches ; and the French St. Chamond Company 
arranged to have their petrol electric transmission 
fitted into a hull which I was to send them. 
This made eight in all. 

The total order was now for 1250 Tanks. It 
was an immense order to get placed. Large 
grants had to be made by the Treasury to extend 
the factories for the production of engines, guns, 
armour-plate, steel castings and other things. 
New factories had to be erected for the assembly 
of Tanks. 

It was about this time that I took Mr. Wells 
down to Birmingham, and he wrote, in the 
article from which I have already quoted, ^^ I 

saw other things that day at X . The Tank is 

only a beginning in a new phase of warfare. Of 
these other things I may only write on the 
most general terms. But though Tanks and 
their collaterals are being made upon a very 

considerable scale in X , already I reaUsed as I 

walked through gigantic forges as high and mar- 
vellous as cathedrals, and from workshed to 
workshed where gun-carriages, ammunition carts, 
and a hundred such things were flowing into 
existence with the swelling abundance of a 
river that flows out of a gorge, that as the demand 
for the new developments grew clear and strong, 
the resources of Britain are capable still of a 
tremendous response/* 

Then, on October 10th, I received an official 



108 TANKS 

instruction from the Army Council cancelling 
the order for 1000 Tanks. 

All the manufacturers who had had any 
experience of the methods of the Tank Depart- 
ment up till then, had worked with the greatest 
enthusiasm. This sudden cancellation came as 
a thunderbolt. I inmiediately went to see Mr. 
Lloyd George, the Secretary of State for War. 
He said that he had heard nothing of the instruc- 
tion. I told him that I had, with enormous 
difficulty, started swinging this huge weight, and 
that I could not possibly stop it now. I told 
him that he could cancel my appointment, but 
he could not possibly get me to cancel the orders 
I had placed. Sir William Robertson, the Chief 
of the Imperial General Staff, then appeared, and 
Mr. Lloyd. George said that he could not under- 
stand how this order could be cancelled without 
his knowledge, since he was President of the 
Army Council. He asked me to tell Sir William 
Robertson what I had told him. This I did. 
Excusing myself owing to pressure of work, I 
then left the room. 

The order for the production of 1000 Tanks 
was reinstated next day. 



CHAPTER VI 

PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 



CHAPTER VI 

PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 

October 1916 to April 1917 

The business of the Department now became 
more varied, and as the need for absolute secrecy 
no longer existed, our name of T,S. Department 
(for up to this time, not even the word Tank was 
used) disappeared. I was made Director-General 
of the Department of Mechanical Warfare Supply, 
with Mr. P. Dale Bussell and Captain Holden as 
Deputy Directors-General. Sir £. H. Tennyson 
d'Eyncourt, K.C.B., and the Hon. Sir Charles 
Parsons, K.C.B., became Chief Technical Advisers. 
Sir William Tritton was appointed Director of 
Constmction, and Major W. G. Wilson, Director 
of Engineering. 

Other changes had taken place. Colonel Swin- 
ton had returned to his duties at the Committee 
of Imperial Defence. Colonel Elles now com- 
manded the Tanks at the Front, and General 
Anley, who had commanded a brigade in the Mons 
retreat, now took command of them in England. 
He had a keen sense of humour. One day a 
bombastic lieut.-Colonel of Tanks came into my 
office when the General was there. ** When 

shall I get my Tanks?** said the bombastic 

111 



112 TANKS 

officer. ^^ The Commander-in-Chief is awfully 
annoyed that I have not got any yet.'' 

" This," said the General, turning to me, 
^* reminds me of the fly on the elephant's trunk 
apologising for its weight." 

It was General Anley who started the famous 
Tank Camp at Wool. It was splendidly organised, 
and the Tank Corps, under his command, became 
a fine, well-disciplined force. We who were 
building the Tanks had every encouragement and 
help from him, and were all very sorry when he 
was appointed to a command in Egypt. 

Complete secrecy had had grave disadvantages, 
but now that we were beginning to be known, we 
found others that before we had escaped. One 
was a great increase in our correspondence. We 
received letters at this time from men of all 
nationalities all over the world, not only sending 
suggestions for the improvement of Tanks but 
making claims that the writers were the inventors 
of them. This is one of the letters from a claim- 
ant. It was addressed to the Eling's Secretary, 
Christal Palace, London. 



i< 

44 



May Zlat, 1917. 

Sir, 

I Wright Having discoved the first Tank 

Pattern now bused at the War and Dementions for huse 

I sent it to the Admarality wich brought it out i have not 

received enything for same Pattern and Dementions for 

huse I feel i should have reeived Something for same 

unles mistake as been made Patterns Advertsed for in 

Paper. God Save the King.'' 



'^(^.Sif/fen 



Ttq^ 



THE ■■ SCHNEIDER- FRENCH TANK [p. 103) 



THE 'SAINT CHAMONU '■ FRENCH TANK. (p. 10J\ 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 118 

During these days, when we were just starting 
production on a large scale, we had rather a 
shock when we received, from the highest author- 
ity in the Ministry, a minute which said, *^ The 
opinion has been expressed that the time has 
been reached when new factories cannot generally 
be expected to begin production in time to be of 
service in this war, and that the building of 
further new factories should not therefore be 
sanctioned/' 

However, we did not allow this to interfere 
with our work, and Mr. Montagu, the Minister 
of Munitions, gave us every help. Like Mr. 
Lloyd George, he believed in Mechanical Warfare 
and was ready to fight for it. 

I paid many visits to the Front with General 
Butler to discuss the question of design, and in 
November a meeting was held with General 
Davidson of G.H.Q., General Anley and Colonel 
Elles, at which it was arranged that the first 150 
machines which had been completed should be 
called Mark L, and of the 100 which had been 
ordered to keep the factories going, fifty should 
be Mark II., and the second fifty Mark III. Mark 
II. was to have no tail, but spuds on the track 
plates, and new cast-iron rollers. Mark III. was 
to have thicker armour, but otherwise be the same 
as Mark II. Mark IV., of which 1000 were to be 
built, was to have the Lewis gun instead of the 
Hotchkiss. Its petrol tank was to be at the back 
instead of inside. It was to have wider shoes, 
thicker armour all over, and the sponsons, which 



114 TANKS 

had hitherto been carried to the battlefield 
separately on trucks, were to be carried on the 
machine and made to swing in when travelling by 
railroad. 

An officer of the Tank Corps, who had once 
been in charge of the Lewis Gun School at St. 
Omer, was responsible for the decision to use the 
Lewis gun instead of the Hotchkiss. He insisted 
on it against the advice of the experts in Tanks, 
who knew that the vulnerability of the outer 
cover of the Lewis gun and the size of its barrel 
made it very unsuitable for using in a loophole. 
Li the following year experience in the field 
proved us to have been right. The Tank Corps 
told us that they could not go into battle with 
the Lewis gun in the front loop-hole, and that 
until we could make the necessary alterations 
to put back the Hotchkiss gun, no Tank actions 
could be fought. 

I said at this meeting that the first heavy 
machine with 2-inch armour would be ready 
for trial towards the end of January, and if it 
were decided to proceed with the manufacture, 
the rest would be available about September, 
1917. 

I then brought forward a suggested type of 
light machine with two engines designed by 
Sir William Tritton. This was the Whippet. 
General Davidson and Colonel EUes agreed that 
it would probably be very useful. If any large 
quantity of these machines was required for next 
year it was necessary to order the engines at once. 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 115 

I asked that an early decision should be given in 
order that I could obtain 5000 engines. 

At this meeting, I also pointed out to General 
Davidson that we ought to have a member of the 
Army Council or some high official appointed to 
the Committee to give decisions for the War 
OflSce, and it was agreed that when any important 
questions in connection with design, output or 
dates of delivery should arise, Lieut.-Colonel 
Stem, General Anley, Colonel EUes, a represent- 
ative of the Genersd Staff, France, and a repre- 
sentative of the War Office should attend. A 
meeting could be convened by any one of the 
above representatives under the Chairmanship 
of Colonel Stem. It was agreed also that Major 
Ejiothe should act as Technical Liaison Officer 
between Colonel EUes, General Anley and Colonel 
Stem. 

At a meeting on Saturday, November 25th, 
Mr. Martin of the Daimler Company undertook 
to deliver engines as follows : — 

January 20 a week. 

February 28 „ 

March 85 „ 

April 40 

rising to sixty engines a week in May. 

The question of responsibility for inspection 
and design was settled at a meeting with Major 
General Bingham, Director-General of Munitions 
Design, Sir Sothem Holland, Director-General of 
Inspection of Munitions, and Mr. £• Phipps, 



116 TANKS 

Secretary of the Ministry of Munitions. In the 
usual way the inspection would have come under 
Sir Sothem Holland, and the design under Major 
General Bingham, but as the Tanks were still in 
such an experimental stage, it was agreed^ at the 
request of the War Office, that, for the present, 
all Tanks, accessories and spares should be manu- 
factured and tested by the Mechanical Warfare 
Department of the Ministry of Munitions. 

A suggestion that the Army Council should 
be consulted on specifications before they were 
approved, and that no change should be made 
without reference to them, was not adopted, as it 
was contrary to the principle of the division of 
Functions between the Ministry of Munitions and 
the War Office, but it was agreed that all require- 
ments and suggestions made by the Army Council 
should be incorporated in the designs at the 
earliest opportunity. 

I was continually pressing for still larger 
orders for Tanks, and in October I wrote to 
Mr. Montagu to say that we must now decide 
whether the order for 1000 Tanks for the following 
year was sufficient. 

I told him that the Russian, French and Belgian 
Governments had asked if the British Govern- 
ment could supply them with Tanks, and that I 
thought that our capacity for production should 
be immediately increased to 150 Tanks a week. 
I also said that many defences against Tanks had 
been suggested, but that the real defence was 
another Tank. We had to decide now whether 



PRODUCTION OX A LARGE SCALE 117 

every Tank shoold not Imrt m gun c^ snflkiait 
power to smash Tanks. 

Tlie Russian Goremment was not asking only 
if we could build Tanks for it. I was pressed, at 
the same time, by the War OlBoe to gire plans of 
the Tanks to Russia. I c^yoscd this most s lr op gly , 
and put it off from time to time by sajring 
that I was too busy to get these drawings ready. 
I was convinced, by the nature ci the questions 
asked, that the request really came from Germany. 
Russia could have no need for detailed drawings, 
either for offence or defence. She could not need 
them for offence, because even with the plans, she 
had not the means to build Tanks. She could 
not need them for defence, firstly because the 
Germans had no Tanks to use on the Eastern 
Front, and seccmdly, because if they had, we 
could give Russia sufficient informati<m about 
defence against Tanks without sending drawings 
of them. However, the Intelligence Department 
of the War Office was very insistent, so, in 
consultation with the Minister of Munitions and 
Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt, it was decided to give 
the War Office a child's drawing and incorrect 
details. I am convinced they found their way 
into the hands of the German General Staff. 

Now, and always, we had difficulties with the 
War Office about men. Although the officers in 
my Department had volunteered for active service 
and some of them had been in action, although 
they were all doing work of the greatest military 
importance and paying continual visits to the 



118 TANKS 

Front, yet it was very nearly impossible to get 
any military acknowledgment. Although Lieut. 
Holden, Lieut. Rendle and Lieut. Anderson were 
takii^ a leading part in the development of 
Mechanical Warfare, and were recommended by 
the Minister for promotion on the 20th of Sep- 
tember, 1916, Lieut. Holden only received pro- 
motion in October 1918, while Lieut. Rendle 
and Lieut. Anderson remained unpromoted to the 
end of the war. 

This was not the only difficulty. In the 
early days we found it very hard to get any staff 
at all, for the Army refused to allow us men of 
military age. It was very necessary, however, 
that we should secure the services of a good 
transport officer to superintend the transport of 
Tanks from the manufacturers to Tank Head- 
quarters in France, a man with business experi- 
ence and a man of the world. I asked Mr. 
George Grossmith if he would undertake this 
work. He was over military age, but jumped 
at the idea of being able to help in any way and 
accepted at once. He was given a conmiission 
in the R.N.V.R. under the Admiralty, and did 
valuable work from the time of his joining up in 
November, 1916, till the date of the Armistice. 
Since he was an actor, many attacks were made 
on him by jealous people. It was on the occasion 
of one of these attacks that I was called to the 
Admiralty to explain what he was doing for my 
Department. I told them, and his work was 
heartily approved. The official whom I saw sent 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 119 

for the file of papers relating to his commission. 
He told a clerk, who had been at the Admiralty 
some forty years, to look it up. " Under what 
heading?'' said the clerk. *^ Ministry of Muni- 
tions," was the reply. " Did you say Ministry 
of Musicians?" said this clerk of forty years' 
experience, looking very puzzled. 

At a Conference held at the War Office on 
November 28rd, 1916, at which Sir Douglas Haig 
was present, I raised the question of the imme- 
diate release from the colours of men required 
for the building of Tanks. I said that I had 
handed in a list of the names of these men to 
the Labour Supply Department, and that the 
matter was urgent. Mr. Montagu told me that 
the Labour Supply Department of the Ministry 
of Munitions was responsible, and that he would 
ask Mr. Stephenson Kent to see to the speedy 
release of these men, numbering something like 
800 in all. General Whigham, on behalf of the 
War Office, promised to expedite the matter. Sir 
Douglas Haig agreed that it was urgent. 

The general conclusion reached at this Con- 
ference was : — 

1. Tanks are required in as large numbers as possible. 

2. It is important to get as many as possible before 

May. 

8. It is very important to consider and adopt improve- 
ments in design from time to time, but almost 
any design now is likely to be better than no 
Tank. 

4. It is highly desirable that no other supply should 



120 TANKS 

be interfered with. If it is necessary to do so in 
order to fulfil the requirements, 6.H.Q. should 
be informed through the proper channels before 
any action is taken. 

In September there had been a great technical 
controversy at the meeting with the French 
experts in Paris. The petrol electric transmission 
which was in operation in the St. diamond 
machine attracted me very much, for it gave 
greater ease in changing speed, though at the 
price of greater weight. At this time all the 
experts were against me, but later in the year 
6.H.Q. made such urgent demands for Tanks 
that, in order not to lose time, I gave orders to 
the Daimler Company on January 5th, 1917, for 
600 sets of petrol electric gear with a low gear of 
three and a half miles an hour, and a changing 
speed gear of five miles an hour. The machine 
had not yet been tested, but this was to prevent 
any delay should the trial machine be a success. 

On Friday, January 12th, the Daimler Petrol 
Electric machine was tested at climbing out of 
shell holes in competition with a Mark I. 
6-pounder machine. Both machines were loaded 
up to the full with ammunition and so forth, 
and the results clearly showed that the Daimler 
Petrol Electric was unable to pull out of the 
shell hole except by a succession of jolts, produced 
by bringing the brushes back to a neutral position, 
raising the engine up to 1800 revolutions and then 
suddenly shifting the brushes up to the most 
advantageous position. This resulted in a maxi- 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 121 

mum current of from 900 to 1000 amperes, and 
all agreed that it was unsatisfactory. So after 
a great controversy and many tests the Petrol 
Electric machine was rejected as untrustworthy, 
and all orders were cancelled. 

Jn January 1917 Major Uzielli was sent to me 
by General Elles to ask the exact dates for the 
delivery of the Tanks. I said that the arrival of 
machines in France depended on so many things, 
that it was impossible to promise an exact date, 
but that from the first week in March we ought 
to have from twenty to thirty a week, which 
would take six days in passage. The inevitable 
delays were due to the difficulty in getting 
material, the possibility of breakdown in testing, 
and delay in transit. 

I said that I was strongly of the opinion that 
it was exceedingly risky to make any arrange- 
ments for putting Tanks into the line before we had 
a large supply at Tank Headquarters in France. 

On January 29th, 1917, Squadron 20 undertook 
the testing of all machines before shipment to 
France. 

Towards the end of 1916, Mr. d'Eyncourt and I 
were very much troubled about the future of 
Mechanical Warfare. G.H.Q., France, and the 
War Office had their hands full in these strenuous 
times, but we pioneers in Mechanical Warfare 
knew that, to develop it to its greatest extent, 
we must have the military views of the tactics of 
Tanks at least twelve months beforehand, in order 
to get the right design and production. We had 



122 TANKS 

been told, too, that there was a great probability 
that no more Tanks would be required. 

Having tried every other means, we at last 
went to the Prime Minister, Mr. Lloyd George, and 
handed hima memorandum explaining the develop- 
ment and present position of Mechanical Warfare. 

We reminded him that on February 2nd, 1916, 
our first Tank had passed all the tests laid down 
by the Army Council. The value of the Tank had 
still remained in doubt until the battle of Sep- 
tember 15th, but 6.H.Q. had then unreservedly 
accepted this type of warfare. The main criti- 
cisms after that battle were that the Tank got 
bellied, or stuck, and that it could not keep up 
with the infantry, so that either it had to start 
first, in which case the German barrage prevented 
the advance of the infantry, or if it started at the 
same time the infantry got ahead of it. 

We explained the improvements which since 
then had been made. We pointed out that now 
the Tanks were more easily transportable ; that 
they were in a marked degree better at overcoming 
the most difficult wet and muddy ground; that 
experiments were being made and were now 
drawing to a conclusion for lighter loading, 
thicker armour-plate and ease of control, and that 
the machinery was much more trustworthy and 
durable. 

Mr. Lloyd George then called a meeting of the 
War Cabinet, at which representatives of the 
Imperial General Staff and Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt 
and I were present. The Cabinet agreed to my 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 128 

suggestion that a meeting should be held at the 
War Office between representatives of the War 
Office of the English and French General Staffs, 
English and French commanders of Tanks, and 
English and French designers of Tanks, and that 
this meeting should take place after they had 
viewed the trials, with all the new types of Tanks, 
which were to be carried out at our experimental 
ground at Oldbury early in March. 

It was clear at this time that if Mechanical 
Warfare was to make any real progress, an engine 
bigger than the 105 H,P. would be necessary. 
Unfortunately, the Aircraft Production Depart- 
ment were seizing every possible source of supply. 
They had the first claim. We were not allowed, 
for example, any aluminium for our engines. 
Mechanical Warfare, in fact, was not yet acknow- 
ledged as a necessity. I tried to persuade the 
Daimler Company to design a new engine, but 
they were already fully taken up with work for 
the Air Department. The probjem before me was 
to have ready in advance a new engine of greater 
H.P., and to have it in sufficient quantities to 
meet all possible demands for an increase in the 
number of Tanks. 

I found a well-known designer in internal 
combustion engines, Mr. H. Ricardo, who under 
the directions of Mr. Bussell (my deputy) and with 
the assistance of my officers, found a certain 
number of gas-engine firms, which the Air Depart- 
ment had considered unsuitable and had rejected. 
These firms were got together under my presi- 



124 TANKS 

dency and agreed to work jointly and produce an 
engine to be specially designed by Mr. Ricardo, 
an engine of 150 H.P., using no aluminium or high 
tensile steel. As soon as Mr. Ricardo had got 
out the designs, I submitted them to Mr. Dugald 
Clark, one of the greatest authorities in the world 
on internal combustion engines, who considered, 
after examining the designs, that I was justified in 
ordering 700 of these engines before one had been 
constructed for test. 

On February 5th, 1917, a conference was held 
in the room of the Minister (Dr. Addison), at which 
were present : — 

The Master C^eral of the Ordnance ; 

General Sir David Henderson ; 

General Butler ; 

Mr. Percy Martin ; 

Sir W. Weir; 

Mr. S. F. E(4[e ; 

Colonel Holden ; 

Colonel Foster ; 

Mr. Herbert and 

Colonel Stem. 

General Henderson asked that I should be 
prevented from employing five special firms in 
making 700 Ricardo engines, in anticipation of 
Tanks which had not yet been ordered. I said 
that I had ordered these engines with foresight 
to prevent the shortage of engines for tanks 
such as they were now experiencing with air- 
craft. In spite of this, the Committee approved 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 125 



resolution. However, I took no notiee of it. 
We continued the building of the 700 engines, and 
in order not to stop the continuity of manufacture, 
I gave an order for another 700. The first of the 
initial 700 had not yet been tested, but we believed 
in them. 

On March 8rd, the exhibition took place at 
Oldbury, Birmingham, on the ground belonging 
to Squadron 20, of all the experimental machines 
which I had ordered immediately after the Battle 
of the Somme, 1916. The fiill programme and the 
names of those present is given in Appendix II. 

The day after this display the meeting ar- 
ranged by the War Cabinet was held at the- War 
Office to discuss the tactics of the future design 
of Tanks, and there were present representatives 
of the French General Staff, War Office, French 
Headquarters Staff, the officer commanding Eng- 
lish Tanks, the officer commanding French Tanks, 
M. Breton (representing the French Ministry of 
Inventions) Sir £. d'Eyncourt and myself. 

At tins Conference the present value of Mechan- 
ical Warfare and the future value of improved 
machines were acknowledged by all the military 
authorities. The French feeling about it was 
expressed in a letter which M. Thomas, the 
French Minister of Munitions, wrote to Dr. 
Addison on March 10th : — 



" Mt dear Minister and Colleague, 

** The Under-Secretary of State for Inventions 
whom you were good enough to invite to come to 
England in order to assist at the trials of the new type 



126 TANKS 

of Tanks prepared by your Technical Department and 
at the Conferences which were to follow the trials, has 
given me an account both of the extreme interest of 
these trials, which you desired that representatives of 
France should witness, and of the very cordial reception 
which he had from you. 

*^ I have already had the opportunity of reading the 
report of the mission which I sent at your request to 
accompany the Under-Secretary of State for Inventions. 
I am extremely happy to note the brilliant success of 
the researches, as a result of which, very shortly, the 
British armies will be equipped with a weapon from 
which a great deal has already been expected, and I have 
the honour to thank you for the courtesy extended to 
the members of this mission by the British Government 
and by their British comrades and colleagues. 

*^ I appointed to take part in this mission, in addition 
to the technical officers, a certain number of the principal 
engineers of mimition workshops. I note that they 
have greatly profited from the experiments of which they 
have been witnesses. I hope that the information which they 
may have been able to give to your technical officers may 
have proved equally valuable to them. I am delighted 
to see a continuance and an extension in the domain of 
experiment of that collaboration which, in one way or 
another, has existed from the very beginning. 

*^ I am particularly pleased that the Under-Secretary 
of State for Inventions should have had the opportunity 
of entering into personal relations with yourself and 
with the officers of your Ministry who are specially 
concerned with Research and Invention. 

^^ You were good enough to point out to him certain 
directions in which researches in common might be made. 
From this co-operation I anticipate the happiest results. 

*' Please accept the best assurance of my highest 

consideration. 

** Albert Thomas." 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 127 

On the same day that the Conference with the 
French was held, another Conference at the War 
Office decided that there should be nine battalions 
of seventy-two Tanks each, with another 852 as 
first reinforcements, making 1000 in all. The 
Commander-in-Chief also asked for 200 Light 
Tanks to be delivered by Jidy 81st. I said that 
there was no possibility of delivering any Tanks 
for this fighting season except the 1000 which 
had already been ordered, but that the question 
of the improvement in design and production 
must be considered at once if the large numbers 
which I saw would be required in the early part 
of 1918 were to be ready in time. 

On March 12th, I wrote to Dr. Addison : — 

^^ As Director-General of the Department which has 
been responsible for the design and which has produced 
every Tank, I have persistently opposed the premature 
empIo3rment of Tanks this year. Also the emplojrment 
of practice Tanks, t.e., Marks I., II. and III. in action 
this year. 

"At the War Office Meeting last Sunday, General 
Butler assured me that sixty machines of Mark I., II. and 
in., which are being kept in France ready for action only 
as a temporary measure, and which are really practice 
machines, will be returned for training purposes as soon 
as they can be replaced by the delivery of Mark IV. 
machines. (Mark I., 11. and III. are practice machines, 
and Mark IV. is the new fighting machine ; twenty-five 
of the above sixty machines are, I believe, being sent 
from Wool, and will be returned to Wool.) 

** I consider it more than unwise to use practice Tanks 
in action under any circumstances. They have all the 
faults that necessitated the design of last year being 



128 TANKS 

altered to the present design of Mark IV. In addition, 
the training of the men is being delayed by this action. 
Their failure will undoubtedly ruin the confidence of the 
troops in the future of Mechanical Warfare. 

^^ For the sake of sixty machines, the whole future of 
thousands of Tanks will be most unjustifiably prejudiced. 

^^ I wish also to point out that even when Mark IV. 
machines are delivered, taking Mechanical Warfare as an 
enterprise, it is a most uneconomical expenditure of 
our resources to use them before we have large numbers, 
and the necessary central workshops ready in operation. 

*^ As the war proceeds and our losses in men accumu- 
late, necessity will force us more and more into labour- 
saving devices, which will take their place in warfare 
as they have in commerce. 

** All care should be t;aken to foster the development 
of this new weapon, with the greatest caution. How- 
ever excellent the design of a ship, without a rudder 
she will be wrecked. I believe Mechanical Warfare^ 
without prudence^ will share a like fate.** 

At the beginning of March, Mr. Eu Tong Sen, 
a member of the Federal Council of the Malay 
States, offered £6000 for the purchase of a Tank, 
which the Army Council gratefully accepted on 
behalf of His Majesty's Government. The Tank 
selected was one built by Messrs. Foster & 
Company at Lincoln, and had a plate put on it 
with the following inscription : — 

" Presented to H. M. Government by Mr. Eu Tong 
Sen, member of the Federal Council of the Malay States, 
on March 10th, 1917." 

All Chinese ships and boats, large or small, 
have a large " eye " painted at each side of the 



From a faiHlfMg by if ajar Sir WMiam Or^n, A R.A . 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 129 

bow. The Chinese explanation of the custom 
is, " No have eyes, how can see ? *' It seemed 
only right that this ^^ Landship," also, should 
see, and accordingly an eye was painted on each 
side of its bow. 

In due course it was sent overseas, and was 
first commanded by 2nd Lieut. J. M. Oke, and 
christened " Fly-Paper.*' Before the Cambrai 
battles in November 1917 it was re-christened 
^^ Fan-Tan,'' and in these battles was commanded 
by Lieut. H. A. Aldridge. It was in the first 
day's battle at Cambrai, and reached its objec- 
tives, doing good work at Pain Pam Farm and 
on the road leading to Masnidres. On the 27th 
it went into battle at the village of Fontaine- 
notre-Dame. The fighting in the streets was 
deadly. The upper windows of the houses were 
full of German machine-guimers, and the 6- 
pounder guns of the Tank did great execution 
among them. All its crew were wounded, some 
severely, and the Commander was struck in the 
eye. Notwithstanding, they brought the Tank 
back to the rallying-point. 

After this it was commanded by 2nd Ueut. J. 
Munro, and was re-numbered 6/86. It was with 
its Battalion, with the 6th Corps, during the 
great Carman attack in the spring of 1918, and 
took part in all the fighting while we were on the 
defensive. It was finally handed in to workshops 
on June '19th, 1918. 

The suggestion has already been made that 
it should be presented to the Malay States as a 



180 TANKS 

memento of the Great War, and of the generosity 
of Mr. Eu Tong Sen. 

In April 1917, at the time of the Battle of 
Arras, I was invited to Tank Headquarters for a 
conference, and my diary of that period may be 
of interest : — 



cc 



April IQih. 

I was met by General EUes, Major Fuller, Lieut.- 
Colonel Uzielliy Lieut. Foote, Major Butler, Lieut. 
Molesworth and Colonel Searle. There was great news 
of the battle. Tanks had taken Thelus (Vimy), the 
villages of Tilloy, Neuville Vitasse, Monchy le l^eux, 
Riencourty Herdicourt; two tanks were cut off and 
captured, owing to no infantry support. 

^* The proposed programme for the stay was as 
follows : — 

Workshop Camp. — Saturday. 

Battle front north of Arras. — Sunday. 

Ditto, south of Arras. — ^Monday. 

Technical meeting with Grcneral Butler. — Tuesday. 
General Baker Carr's brigade had been into action. 

The general impression was that the men and officers 
were magnificent. 

At the start of the battle, some brigadiers did not 
want Tanks for fear of drawing fire on their troops, but 
all begged for them afterwards. 

Five machines got bogged going into action. Ditching 
still the trouble. 

Must have a guard for the Lewis gun. 

" April 14tt. 

"I arrived at Bermicourt on the evening of the 
lath, together with Captain Saunderson, Lieut.-Com- 
mander Barry, Lieut. Shaw, Captain Symes, Major 
Wilson, and Lieut. Thomeycroft. 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 181 



u 



Major Fuller gave a lecture on "what the Tanks had 
ckme, and illustrated his remarks on a blackboard. He 
mentioned that the greatest difiSculty was the bringing 
up of supplies of petrol, water and ammunition to the 
Tanks in action. Among other things they had to 
bring up 20,000 gallons of petrol, and to have four 
dumps and two lots of 500 men each carrying. 

** I yisited Headquarters workshops. There were six 
buildings, to be later increased to nine. There was only 
one workshop building, and all repairs were done in 
hangars, one large and two smaller. 

**In the afternoon I saw a machine fitted with 
wooden spuds, using a spare new engine for experimoital 
purposes. 

«' April ISth. 

'*I motored to Arras with General Elles, Cdonel 
UaielK, Major Wilson, and Captain Saunderson. We 
changed into a light car, put on steel and gas helmets 
and went through the old German lines, and got out at 
Beaurains, which was totally destroyed. We walked up 
Tel^raph Hill and through the Harp, and saw all the 
Tank tracks, also one Tank which had been hit by a 
sheU. The driyer had his head taken off. No damage 
was done to the machine except to the front plate and 
petrol tank. We saw many dead Bosches lying about, 
also very deep dug-outs. On reaching TiUoy, saw 
German shrapnel bursting between us and Monchy le 
Preux, also gas shells. Saw there a German cupola 
(the same as in Invalides, Paris) on a carriage^ with 
shafts for three horses, which had been captured by the 
French. 

** We returned to Arra8» ^ere I found my old frigid 
Sidney Charrington in command of C. Battalion. He 
said that the Tanks had done magnificently. 

*' We motored to Noydle Vion, and there saw an 



182 TANKS 



old friend. General Haldane» Lord Loch and General 
Tulloch. They said that the Tanks had done splendidly 
and had taken Tilloy, Monchy and Evianeourt. General 
Haldane said he would write to the Adjutant-General 
telling him what a success the Tanks were. 

^' Returning in the evening, Harry Dalmeny rang up 
and invited General Elles and myself to dine at General 
Allenby's ch&teau with General Bols, C^eral Lecky, 
and General Sillem. 

" General Allenby said he had not believed in Tanks 
before, but now thought it was the best method of 
fighting, and would not like to attack without them. 

'' April leth and 17th. 

'* I talked with General Elles in the morning, and at 
about twelve o'clock left for headquarters of the 18tfa 
Corps, Hautville, with Captain Saundenk>n, to see my 
brother, a Major in the South Irish Horse. I found that 
he was at Pas, where I arrived at three o'clock. We 
had a very excellent lunch of bully beef and biscuits. 
I had an appointment with General Butler at 4.80, so 
had to leave in a hurry. We met a lot of cavalry on the 
return journey, by way of Doullens and St. Pol, and 
arrived at 5.15. General Butler did not turn up until 
6.80, when a Conference was held with General Elles, 
Major Wilson, Captain Saunderson and Captain Symes. 






April im. 

A technical meeting was held in the workshops. 
Snowing hard at limch time. Arrived in Paris at eight 
o'clock, after a four and three-quarter hour's trip via 
Hesdin. 

^* Lunched with Captain Leisse, and at 8.80 met 
Captain Marais, A.D.C. to Colonel Girard. 

At 6.80 handed drawings to M. Breton. 



ift 



- M 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 188 

'* April 19th. 
" Went to Marly. 

'' April 20th and 2lst. 

*^I lunched with Mr. Lloyd George at the Hotel 
Crillon; Lord Esher, Sir Maurice Hankey and three 
other Generals were also present. I met General 
Maurice, the D.M.O. at the War Office, after lunch. 

**I got the passes extoided and started for St. 
Chamond. Spent Saturday at St. Chamond and saw 
our Tanks, fitted with their petrol transmission, ascend 
a hiU of 55^« 

'* April 2ind. 
** Returned to Fkiris. Saw Colonel Girard* 

*' April 2»rd. 
^' Major Wilson, Captain Saunderson and I were 
entertained at lunch at Quai d'Orsay by the Minister 
of Livoitions, M. Breton, Goieral Mouret, General 
Estienne, Colonel Challiat, etc., and in the evening were 
entertained by Colonel Romailho at Rest Viel to meet 
all the Tank experts. General Estienne explained the 
first battle with French Tanks, the Schneider Tanks, at 
Juvencourt. They were not a great success, getting 
ditched very easily and being quickly set on fire by 
higli explosive shells. 






April 24th. 

Motored with Major Wilson and Captain Saunderson 
to Amiens; arrived at liiO and lunched with General 
Butler; went at 8.45 to house in Rue Gloriette. 
General Wilson, Duncannon, Field Marshal Sir Douglas 
Haig, General Davidson, and Sassoon arrived. Shortly 
afterwards, Nivelle and his staff arrived. Haig and 
mveUe had a long conference. Afterwards all had a 
talk for half an hour. Haig then asked me in and 
Butler joined us. Haig said that he would do anything 



184 TANKS 

to help me; that a division of Tanks was worth ten 
divisions of infantry, and he probably underestimated 
it ; told me to hurry up as many Tanks as I could, not to 
wait to perfect them, but to keep sending out imperfect 
ones as long as they came out in large quantities, 
especially up till August. He said the Timks, after 
aeroplanes, were the most important arm of the Britidi 
Army, as they were such tremendous life-savers. He 
asked who at the War Office did not believe in them. 
I replied that the A.6.'s department recruited my men. 
He agreed that it must be stopped. He then congratu- 
lated me and thanked me. 
** Left for Boulogne en route for England.*' 

During this visit I had a discussion with the 
officers of the Tank Corps about driving, and 
said that the skill of the driver had much to do 
with the success of a Tank, and that a good 
driver could get a great deal out of a Tank 
which was not mechanicaUy perfect. 

I challenged the Tank Corps to a race between 
Squadron 20 virhich was testing the Tanks for my 
Department, and any crevir chosen from the 
virhole of the Tank Corps, in one of their Tanks, 
over any course they liked to select. I said that 
I would back my fellows to beat the others for 
£100. The challenge was accepted but not the 
bet, and the following letter from General Elles 
explains the result : — 

*' Dear Stekn, 

^* This by Weston, whose visit has been most 
useful. His crew knocked ours by one and a half 
minutes out of sixteen minutes; but give us a month, as 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 185 



stipulated, and I shall be seriously inclined to take yowt 
nuMiey* 

** Searle back yesterday ; tells me that the help he got 
from your fellows was quite immense. Indeed, the results 
are amazing, and we are all very grateful. 

" Yours sincerely, 

''Hugh Elles." 

To these hurried notes in my diary can now 
be added a more connected account of the part 
which the Tanks played at Arras. 

Sixty in all of Mark I. and Mark II. went into 
action. They did not take there the leading 
part which they took in later battles, by concen- 
trated attacks on single objectives, but were 
distributed among the different Corps for minor 
^* mopping up '' operations. 

As early as January the Tank reconnaissances, 
preparation of supply dumps, tankodromes and 
places of assembly had b^^n. At this time 
there were no Supply Tanks in existence, and all 
supplies had to go forward by hand. It was 
reckoned that each Supply Tank would have 
saved a carrying party of 800 or 400 men. In 
all these preparations there was only one serious 
mishap. The night before the attack a colunm 
of Tanks was moving up from Achicourt by the 
valley of the Crinchon stream. The surface of 
the ground was hard, but underneath, in places, 
it was a morass. This was only discovered when 
six Tanks broke through the crust into mud and 
water. After hours of labour they were got out, 
but too late to take part in the first attack. 



186 TANKS 

Up to the day before the attack the weather 
had been fine, but in the early morning of that 
day came a storm of rain and snow. It was bad 
for the infantry but worse for the Tanks. On the 
heavily '* crumped " ground of the Vimy Ridge, 
now soaked with rain, they could not operate at 
all, and were withdrawn to the fighting further 
south. Here they were more successful, but 
played no very great part in the first day of 
the attack, partly because of the bad state of the 
ground, partly because of the rapidity of the 
infantry's advance. 

It was on the third day, April 11th, that their 
chance came. That day three important Tank 
attacks were made. The first was made against 
the village of Monchy-le-Preux, which was not 
only strongly fortified, but from its ridge domi- 
nated the surrounding country. It was a tactical 
point of extreme importance. Six Tanks advanced 
against it. Tluree were put out of action on the 
way, but the other three reached the village and 
enabled the infantry to occupy it. 

Monchy captured, the cavalry moved forward. 
By all accounts the Grcrmans were now thoroughly 
demoralised, but so long as they had a few steady 
machine-gunners who stuck to their posts, any 
effective cavalry advance was impossible. Only 
the Tanks could have cleared the way, and it was 
the lack of a Tank reserve to fill the places of 
those put out of action which gave the Germans 
time to restore their defence. 

The same day, on another part of the battle- 



>I KHAKDO. 1> 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 187 

fields four Tanks worked down the Hindenburg 
Line, penetrated into the country beyond, and for 
over eight hours, unsupported by infantry, fought 
the Grermans wherever they found them, killing 
great numbers. In the end all four returned 
safely to their own lines. 

The third Tank attack of the day was the 
most interesting, although the operation as a 
whole did not succeed. It was delivered against 
Bullecourt, and for the first time Tanks were 
given the principal part. Although the opera- 
tion failed, and it was found impossible to hold 
what the Tanks and infantry had captured, it 
was made dear that the Tanks could do those 
things for which until then massed artillery had 
been thought to be indispensable. They could 
cut the wire and they could protect the infantry 
with a mobile barrage in place of the creeping 
barrage of the guns. 

The results of the Conference at Tank Head- 
quarters with General Butler and General EUes, 
on April 16th and 17th, should also be given in 
more detail. We talked over the improvements 
suggested by the experience of the battle, and I 
said that whatever could be done to improve 
Mark IV • during the summer would be done, but 
that I had a design with me which I hoped would 
meet all demands. It was for a Mark VI. Tank, 
an improved Mark V. This drawing I left with 
them* 

General Butler then laid down the three types 
of machines required : — 



188 TANKS 

1. TfeHeai?y Tallica Tank ^liiich, owing to its weight, 

most have a special railway truck to convey it. 

2. The Medium Tank, which can travel on a standard 

train in France. 
8. TA« Ir^&( TanJfc, which can travel on a lorry. 



I told him that I already had a complete 
wooden model of the Mark VI.^ which would be 
ready by the 80th April, with a real Ricardo 
engine in it. This would embody all the improve- 
ments required, greater speed, lighter loading and 
more ease of control. I also put forward the 
*^ Whippet/' which has already been explained. 

It was arranged that a Conference should be 
held in London on April 80th to decide on the 
programme needed at once — ^not in preparation 
for next year's requirements, but to keep con- 
tinuity of progress in design and output. This 
Conference was to decide on our future policy, 
which must be governed by the demands of the 
Flying Corps and Motor Traction, both of which 
necessarily took precedence of Tanks. 

I suggested that lorries might be got from 
America. Her lorries were second to none, 
whereas her big engines and flying engines were 
not sound enough for our special enterprises. 

General Butler suggested that the establishment 
of 540 would be enough. I replied that we ought 
to try to make progress ; unless we increased, we 
should go back. I thought we could probably 
produce 800 a month of the Heavy Tank, and that 
1000 ought always to be kept in conmiission as 
war establishment. 



PRODUCTION ON A LARGE SCALE 189 

Greneral Butler then queried the capacity of the 
country for spare parte, but Major Wilson ex- 
plained that we were taking measures to eliminate 
the great wear and tear both by better design and 
better material. I cited the commercial success 
of the motor-bus, which originally suffered from 
stupendous wear and tear. 

The question of armour-plate was discussed 
with Captain Symes. General Butler suggested 
Uralite, but Captain Symes explained that the 
best protection was to have armour-plate of the 
proper thickness. 

Finally, General Butler said that he would tell 
the Adjutant General of the value of the Tanks, 
and the necessity of allowing us to have the men 
we needed. 



I K^ ^ 



CHAPTER Vn 

FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 



CHAPTER Vn 

FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 

May 1917 to September 1917 

On returning from France I wrote to General 
Butler : — 

** Firstly, I wish to say how splendidly I consider 
the Tanks have been handled and manned in the last 
oigagement — a veritable triumph of training and 
organisation. But this is not the object of this letter. 
It is to ask you if the Commander-in-Chief could write 
oflBdally to the Army Council informing them of the 
value of the Tank as an established unit of his armies. 
My reason is that, owing to the great secrecy adopted 
in the early days, it is still looked upon as a surprise 
experiment which, after the original surprise, has 
practically no future. 

*^If the Commander-in-Chief could write a letter 
to the Minister of War as head of the Army Council 
and ask him to transmit it to the Ministry of Munitions 
it would give the Tanks in EIngland the serious position 
which he would undoubtedly wish them to have, and 
lightai the burdai of those toiling for you at home.^ 



>9 



As a result of this letter, Sir Douglas Haig 
wrote a letter to Lord Derby, the Secretary of 
State for War, in which he said that the im- 

143 



144 TANKS 

portance of Tanks was firmly established and 
that there should be a special department at 
the War Office to look after them* 

On May 1st Lord Derby called a meeting at 
the War Office at which were present General 
Sir Robert Whigham, the Deputy Chief of the 
Imperial General Staff, General Sir Neville 
Macready, the Adjutant-General, General Furse, 
the Master-General of the Ordnance, General 
Butler, Dr. Addison, the Minister of Munitions, 
Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt and myself. 

After Sir Douglas Haig's letter had been read 
it was decided that a Tank Committee should 
be established, with two representatives of the 
Ministry of Munitions, the Master-General of 
the Ordnance (representing the War Office), a 
General (representing the Heavy Section of the 
Machine-gun Corps) and a Chairman, who should 
be a General, not under the rank of Major-General, 
with experience of fighting at the Front. 

On May 4th I saw Lord Derby and suggested 
that the Committee which had been proposed 
on May 1st would be quite unsuitable, and that 
we ought to have a Committee of people who 
could devote their whole time to Tanks. The 
essential requirements were Tactics, Personnel 
and Material. Therefore one person should de- 
vote his entire time, with agents both at Wool 
and in France, to looking after Tactics, another 
to Personnel, while the Ministry of Munitions 
would look after the design and manufacture. 
This should be the nucleus of the Committee, 



'. MACHINE (/ 137) 



MARK V. MACHINE (/ i.i7i 



Scene on the Flanders Badlefield 1/ 156) 



The sia 


ite o[ ihr 




in<i \^ , 




Iiere, o 




ih^ 






A unk 




hall 




*aler. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 146 

and other people could be added as the War 
Office thought fit. 

Lord Derby was incHned to agree with me and 
said he would get something written out. He 
suggested that the Parliamentary Secretary would 
probably be a good man for a Chairman. As 
soon as he had drafted something, he would send 
for me to discuss the matter again. 

Although we had at this time, and were to have 
later, enormous difficulties with the War Office, 
we were still on the best of terms with them, 
as the following letter from General Furse will 
show. 



*' Mt deab Stebn, 

** I tried to get you on the telephone this 
evening to tell you how delighted I was to hear that 
those extra plates had been pushed off to France to* 
day for the Mark IV.s. That is really a fine performance 
especially in this filthy time of strikes. Bravo I " 

The Committee was appointed, with General 
Capper as Chairman. A month before he had 
never seen a Tank. 

At the first meeting I spoke as follows :-^ 

'* Sir Dous^ Haig told me on April 24th that the 
Tank had been estaUidied as one of the most im- 
portant arms of the British Expeditionary Force, that 
it was a great life-saver, and that battles could not be 
won without huge losses exeept with Tanks. 

** This new arm is making very rapid progress. In 
1016 we produced 150 Tanks ; in 1017 we shall produce 
1500 Tanks; in 1018 we can produce 6000 Tanks. 
' ^ I do not believe that the standard organisation of 



146 TANKS 

the War Office can be imposed on this development 
without great injury. The connection between the 
Fighting Tanks in France and the Department responsible 
for design, supply and development, must be direct and 
instantaneous. What possible advantage can accrue 
from the passage of ideas, and requirements through 
numerous Departments of the War Office ? 

^^ I wish to suggest that the rapid development can 
be achieved by the appointment of a Director-Gaieral 
of all military Tanks in England and abroad, solely 
responsible for everything to do with Tanks, except 
when detailed for action in the field. Major-General 
Capper has already been appointed Gaieral in Command 
of Tanks, but to my mind he requires these powers. 
His position as regards Tanks should be similar to the 
position which Sir Eric Geddes held in England and 
abroad with regard to railways. 

**The Director-General of military Tanks should 
leave all questions of design, manufacture, supply, 
inspection, labour, materials and transport to the 
Mechanical Warfare Supply Department, and should 
communicate his requirements direct to the Director- 
Gaieral of that Department, and he should approve the 
design of Tanks before manufacture. 

^^The duties of the Director-General of Mechanical 
Warfare Supply should be : — 

1. Research. 

2. Design. 
8. Supply. 

4. Transport. 

5. Storage. 

6. Repair, including Central Workshops at home 

and abroad. 

7. Spare Parts. 

8. Any special Tank Stores. 

9. Inspection. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 147 

** By this oi^ganisation, the users and producers would 
be directly in touch, and full information would be 
available at any moment, without passing through 
unnecessary Departments. 

** The fighting force could inspect and take oyer from 
the suppliers at the Central Workshops, at home and 
abroad, Tanks ready for action. 

*' The study of wear and tear, spare parts, salvage^ 
repairs, rebuilding, at home and abroad, would be 
simplified by bdng in the hands of one organisation.'' 

These were the proposals which I made to the 
Committee^ but this new organisation appeared 
to Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt and me to be so 
dangerous to the free development of Mechanical 
Warfare that on the 18th of May I wrote a 
Memorandum to the Prime Minister and the 
Minister of Munitions (Dr. Addison). It was a 
long document, setting out all the cases in which 
the War Office had disregarded expe];t advice 
with regard to Tanks, only to find that the 
experts were right. 

After describing the new arrangement, the 
Memorandum went on : — 

** The military authorities, 'vAto have not grown up 
with this new development, and who do not know the 
reasons for the different advantages and disadvantages 
which go to make a Tank, are disregarding more and 
more ^cpert opinion. 

**For instance, the original Tanks, Mark L, were 
fitted with the Hotchkiss machine-gun, and the employ- 
ment of this gun was only decided on aftw very ex- 
haustive investigatUm and oonsid^rataon of the special 
circumstances of Tank warfare. 



148 TANKS 

" On the 28rd November, 1916, at a special meeting 
the military authorities decided that the Hotchkiss 
machine-gun be abandoned, and the Lewis gun be sub- 
stituted. This decision was reached against the advice 
of the Mechanical Warfare Supply Department. 

** At a series of meetings again held by the military 
and reported on by a Committee on the 6th May, 1017, 
it was decided that the Lewis gun was useless in a 
Tank, and that the Hotchkiss gun was the only gun 
that could be used. The result is that once more a 
change has to be made, but too late to make the altera- 
tion as it should be made, and this year's Tanks will 
carry converted Lewis gun loopholes and Hotchkiss 
ammunition in racks and boxes provided for Lewis 
guns. 

'' Originally, it was considered by the Mechanical 
Warfare Supply Department that male and female 
Tanks in equal numbers was the best arrangement. In 
the winter of 1916-17 the military experts decided 
on the proportion of one male to two females. Last 
week they again changed their ideas to three males to 
two females, and there are insufficient 6-pounder guns 
for this purpose. 

*^ In consultation with the expert advice of Mechanical 
Warfare, it was decided by the military authorities 
that 100 Tanks in France and 100 Tanks in England 
were necessary for training purposes. On this de- 
cision, Tanks were manufactured with mild steel plates 
instead of armour-plates, without the improvements 
required for fighting. This decision was only arrived 
at after very full discussion and after the question of 
this large number of Tanks necessary for training 
purposes had been very severely criticised by the Prime 
Minister and Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt, but the military 
authorities stated that it was absolutely necessary to 
have this number of training Tanks. Shortly after this. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 149 



tiie military authorities decided to use sixty of these 
training Tanks for fighting purposes. 

** The reason givoi for using these practice machines 
was that the output of machines was late. The military 
authorities, though crying out for an early delivery 
of Tanks, have never given the Mechanical Warfare 
Supply Department the assistance they required. At 
the same moment that the Director-General of the 
Mechanical Warfare Supply Department was called 
before the War Cabioet on March 22nd to answer for 
the delay of one month in the delivery of Tanks, the 
War Office had made an agreement with the Ministry 
of Munitions, dated 16th March, 1917, that the two 
munitions which the Army required most urgently 
were aeroplanes and guns. ... At a meeting with 
Sir Douglas Haig, the Blinister of Munitions, General 
Whig^bam, General Davidson, and Sir Eustace d'Eyn- 
court, on November 28rd, 1916, I stated quite clearly 
that to produce the Tanks according to my proposed 
programme, I should require about 2000 workmen. 

** Instead of my getting these men, after repeated, 
continual, and continuous demands, men are being 
taken from the works, and only 275 out of the 2000 
have been supplied. 

*^ The military authorities, being aware of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief's demand, had not put this Department 
in a protected category, and it is only after repeated 
demands to General Butier, and a visit to Sir Douglas 
Haig last month (April 24th) at Amiens, that the 
Mechanical Warfare Supply Department now appears 
on the same list with Guns and Aeroplanes, and is thus 
protected. 

^^ The withdrawal of these training Tanks for fighting 
purposes has resulted in a lack of trained men, and 
great delay in training the men, on which the vrhole 
success of Mechanical Warfare depends^ has resulted. 



150 TANKS 

^* The lack of training has also been due to a shortage 
of essential Spare Parts ; a Schedule was laid down by 
the military authorities in January on a much reduced 
scale to that suggested by the Mechanical Warfare 
Supply Departmoit, and two months later certain 
cat^p>ries were multiplied by thirty." 

I then quoted from my letter to the Minister 
of Munitions of March 12th, protesting against 
the premature employment of Tanks.^ 

The Memorandum went on : — 

^^ Hie military authorities again disregarded Technical 
Advice, at a meeting on Spare Parts at the Ministry 
of Munitions, in the Minister's room, at which the 
Master-General of the Ordnance, Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt, 
General Anley, Colonel Searle and Mr. Percy Martin 
were present (April 8rd, 1917). At this meeting, which 
had been called as a result of complaints to the War 
Council, the military authorities laid down that they 
required the same number of Spare Parts for Training 
Machines per 100 as for Fighting Machines per 100. 
I pointed out to them that the Fighting Machine was, 
compared with a Training Machine, a projectile, and 
that after going into action it would hardly require 
any Spare Parts ; in other words, that Training Tanks 
would require Spare Parts, but Fijg^ting Machines 
would require spare Fijg^ting Machines. The technical 
side was overruled, and Spare Parts were ordered in 
quantities which are overtaxing the whole Steel Castings 
capacity of this country. 

**The technical advice that these machines were 
worth 800 per cent, or 800 per cent, more on dry ground 
than on wet ground was also disregarded. I explained 
that the wear necessitating the large number of Spares 

i See p. 187. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 151 

was due to wet winter weather (namely, mud), and 
would be largely reduced by summer weather, and 
mudguards, which were being fitted. The advice was 
unheeded. A letter dated May 10th, from the Heavy 
]^»nch, France, states that all estimates for Spares for 
Fighting Tanks, estimated on March 10th and con- 
firmed at the meeting on 8rd April above-mentioned, 
are to be halved, except the six Steel Castings which 
had been demanded in enormous quantities. These 
demands are reduced, in the case of four of them to 
one-sixth, and in the case of two of them to one- 
fourth. The total wd^t of the demand of April 8rd, 
eovering 1600 machines over a period of ei^t months, 
was 10,500 tons, the amended estimate of May 10th 
for the same number of machines over the same period 
is 8400 tons. 

^*The advice that Tanks in quantity are essential 
to the success of an action in Mechanical Warfare has 
also been disregarded. 

*^Tbe preparations bdng made by the Ministry of 
Munitions should result in the shipment of between 
40,000 and 50,000 tons of Tanks during the flighting 
season this year. The military authorities have pro- 
vided a single Central Workshop, one centre for the 
reception of this mijg^ty host. This is against technical 
advice. The Central Workshop at the Front, which we 
understood was to be used for running repairs, is now 
being used for the reconstruction of new types of 
maehines such as ^Supply Tanks' and ^Signalling 
Tanks.' 

*^ General Anley was appointed General in Command 
of the Tanks in England, and the Mechanical Warfare 
Supply Department made arrangements for his offices 
to be next door to the Mechanical Warfare Supply 
Department. It was arranged that general demands 
from France for Spares, tmk Stor^ etc.| from th« 



162 TANKS 



Tank Corps should come direct throui^ the General 
to the Mechanical Warfare Supply Department, and be 
shipped direct by the organisation of the Mechanical 
Warfare Supply Department, which ships Tanks and 
Tank stx>res» under control of its own officers and men, 
to the Tank Headquarters in France. Now, it is 
proposed to divert this through all sorts of channels in 
the War Office. Instances can be quoted by which 
the time taken in receiving a demand and fulfilling 
it under the new regime means endless delay. 

^* The present suggestion to put Mechanical Warfare 
on the above basis at the War Office is, in my opinion, 
ill-considered and fatal to the success and progress of 
Mechanical Warfare. 

** It is proposed that two members of the Ministry 
of Munitions, a member of the War Office, and a member 
of the Heavy Section should meet under the Presidency 
of a General not below the rank of a Major-General. 
Major-General Capper has now been appointed Adminis- 
trative Commander of all the Tank Forces, and is, I 
believe, on Sir Douglas Haig*s Staff, and also Chairman 
of the Tank Conmiittee. 

^^ I wish once more to put forward that, in my opinion, 
this Committee, to be successful, must be put on a 
proper footing, and I consider it essential that the 
Chairman, Major-General Capper, tntut be a member 
of the Army Council, and that the members of the 
Committee should devote their entire time to Mechanical 
Warfare and be responsible to the Chairman for the 
different branches which go to make up Medianical 
Warfare, viz. : — 

" 1. Personnel. 

*^ There should be a member responsible to the 
Chairman for complete knowledge of require- 
ments, and the study generally of personnel for 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 168 

Tanks both in France and England, with a 
liaison with French Tanks. 



"2. Tactics. 

** Another member should study the question of 
Tactics in co-operation with the Tank Force 
in France and the Tank Force in England, and 
have complete information ready for the 
Conmuttee, with a liaison with French Tanks. 

8. Supply and Design. 

**AU knowledge of supply and design should be 
concentrated in Lieut.-Colonel Stem and Sir 
Eustace d'Eyncourt, representing the Ministry 
of Munitions. The Mechanical Warfare Supply 
Department are in liaison with the French 
Department on Tanks Design and Supply. 

**19ie Committee to consist of five members, three 
to be appointed by the Army Council^ to devote their 



entire time to Mechanical Warfare; the Chairman to 
be a member of the Army Council ; the two members 
from the Bffinistry of Munitions, representing Supply 
and Design, to be appointed by the Minister of Munitions, 
subject to the approval of the Army Council. 

** In this way, the Chairman of the Committee would 
have a permanent organisation with first-hand informa- 
tion on the Personnel, Tactics, Manufacture and Design 
of Tanks, and, as a member of the Army Council, would 
be in a position to furnish the Army Council with the 
latest information on all these points whenever required. 

** This Committee should be the recognised authority 
for [submitting recommendations as to the Tactical 
employment of Tanks and other Mechanical Warfare 
Stores, add should advise on the Numbers, Training and 
Equipment of Crews, and on anti-Tank expedients. 
The Committee should be empowered to give final 



154 TANKS 

dedaons (subject only to approval by the Secretary 
of State for War and the Minister of Munitions) on all 
matters appertaining to design and equipment of Tanks 
(whether for Fighting, Signalling, 6im-carrying, Supply 
or other purposes); to Transport and Storage of 
Mechanical Warfare Stores, to repairs, including Central 
and Mobile Workshops ; to Spare Farts and any special 
Stores, and to Inspection. 

** The Mechanical Warfare Supply Department have 
hitherto carried out the Experiments, Design, Construc- 
tion, Inspection, Storage, and Transportation. Their 
Contract and Finance Sections have been under the 
Director-General, subject to the supervision of the heads 
of these Departments in the Ministry of Munitions, 
who have their representatives in this Department. This 
system has proved entirely successful, and no £aults 
have been found by the Finance and Contracts Branches 
of the Ministry of Munitions except that it differs from 
the procedure in other Departments, namely, that the 
local control of Contract and Finance Departments, 
though supervised by the Ministry of Munitions, is 
directly under the Director-General of the Mechanical 
Warfare Supply Department. The systems adopted 
by this Department are used in the most up-to-date 
and successful businesses in the world, and have been 
approved by the different authorities of the Ministry of 
Munitions. 

^'The question of Transportation, Storage and In- 
spection, as above, should be left to the discretion of 
this Committee to decide. My reasons for stating this 
are that Mechanical Warfare is in a process of great 
expansion and development^ with violent and continual 
changes, and it would be fatal to try and impose on 
this new enterprise the hard and fast rules governing 
standard Army Stores. Of course, it is understood that 
the formation of this Cpmnuttee and the powers given 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 165 

to it are a tempoiary measure for this and next year's 
produetion. 

** If these recommendations are approved, I see every 
hope of carr3ring out the big programme which is on 
order this year, and the programme which has been 
foreshadowed for next year, but unless the new organisa- 
tion is formed on these lines, with the flexibility sug- 
gested, I see no possibility of carrying out either this 
or next year's programme." 

This document I signed, and Sir Eustace 
d'Eyncourt added his signature as concurring 
in everything that I had said. 

In my covering letter to Dr. Addison, I ex- 
plained that the Memorandum did not concern 
supply, but concerned the whole question of 
mechanics as applied to warfare. 

The Prime Minister arranged for a date for 
the discussion of this Memorandum by the War 
Cabinet. It had caused a sensation amongst 
the Chiefs at the War Office, that any one should 
dare to question their ruling, especially a junior 
officer. Then General Capper came to see me. 
He told me that Sir William Robertson wished 
me to withdraw the Memorandum, and said all 
the things which I had criticised would be at- 
tended to and altered. In consequence of this, 
although the Memorandum had been circulated 
to all the Ministers concerned, I withdrew it, 
with the result that nothing was done towards 
making the alterations which I had suggested. 

I waited two months» and then« on July 28rd, 
lOlTy I wrote again to the Prime Minister and to 



156 TANKS 

the Minister of Munitions, urging that the Com- 
mittee as set up was the wrong sort of body to 
control the construction of Tanks. 

Next day I wrote again to the Prinze Minister 
on another and very important matter, the 
tactical use of Tanks. The military authorities 
had agreed to make it a rule that they would not 
use Tanks where the weather and ground con- 
ditions were very bad. In spite of this, in spite 
of the fact that the designers and builders had 
told them that over very heavily crumped, soft, 
muddy country Tanks were practically useless, 
they had been using them in the mud at Pass- 
chendaele, and now it seemed hkely that the 
Army would cancel all orders for Mechanical 
Warfare. 

In these circumstances I wrote : — 

^^ On January 25th, I had the honour of submitting 
to the Prime Minister a Memorandum for consideration 
(copy of which is enclosed) re Mechanical Warfare and 
the necessity of having a joint conference on Tactics. 

^^ As a result of a discussion before the War Cabinet 
between the General Staff, Sir Eustace d'Eyacourt and 
myself, a meeting was held at the War Office on 
March 4th. 

^* My suggestions in this Memorandum were : — 

1. Tanks must not be used over heavily cnunped 

areas. 

2. Tanks should be used in large quantities. 
8. Tanks should support Tanks. 

*^ Since that date, we have fought battles at which 
Tanks have assisted at Arzas» Messines and Ypres. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 167 

^*I now propose to visualise the development of 
tactics, both enemy and ally, since August 1914, generally, 
and espedaUy in relation to Tanks and Mechanical 
Warfare. 



•4 



1st Stage. 

Swift shock-attack and counter-attack. German 
invasion of Belgium and France, ending in their defeat 
at the Battle of the Mame. Here is the end of mobile 
warfare. 



cc 



cc 



9nd Stage. 

Tbench Wakfabe 

Defensive* — ^A long single line defended by wire, 
machine-guns and quick-firing field-guns. 

^^ Offensive. — Bfass attack which failed — Neuve 
Oiapelle and Loos. 

** At this point the thinkers (both German and Allied) 
saw that some new method of war must be adopted to 
break defences which defied any hitherto known weapons. 

'^ The Germans developed gas, with the idea of over- 
coming these defences by asphyxiation. 

** The AUies developed an armoured vdiide immune 
from wire and machine-gun fire, and capable of crossing 
trench defences. 

^^Both have failed to win decisive battles for the 
same reason, owing to lack of the big idea, lack of 
patience to wait until a new engine of war and its 
tactics could be fully prepared, organised and tested. 

^ard Stage. 

The Battle of the Somme in September. 

Offensive. — The tactics of blasting the front lines 
of the enemy by means of masses of guns and ammuni- 
tion, were adopted. 
** The advantages claimed were the protection of our 



•ft 



158 TANKS 

infantry advance and the kflling of the enemy in order 
to break throng^ the angle line. 

^^ Defensive. — The Germans immediately began to 
appreciate our new offensiire tactics and, by adopting 
numerous lines of trendies, gradually improved their 
tactics as an antidote. 

** They hold one or two lines very lightly, ythkh are 
entirely obliterated by our massed fim. This fire makes 
it practically impossible for our infantry. Tanks or guns 
to operate. The result is that the enemy is safe from 
further attack until we have repaired the damage, but 
their guns, which are now placed further back out of 
our counter-battery range, create havoc among our 
advance troops who hold the neidy-taken trenches 
unprotected. 

**The change in German tactics is clearly demon- 
strated by the number of guns captured by us : — 

900 at the Battle of Arras; 
40 „ „ „ „ Messines; 

and a small number at the Battle of Tpres. 

** I think from the foregoing it is dear that to win 
a dedsive battle, a gradual devdopment from one 
form of attack by increasing, or perhaps decreasing, 
slightly the power of one arm of the force cannot pro- 
duce the desired result. These changes can easily 
be countered by the defence. A total diange of tactics is 
necessary — a surprise which the defence cannot deal with. 

** We still have that power of surprise in our hands. 

** Accumulate Tanks and continue to do so until 
you have thousands, well-trained and wdl-organised 
tactically into an eflfident, self-contained mechanical 
army. Continue to use a few at the Front, if it is 
considered necessary to hoodwink the German Command. 

*^ Press propaganda might also decdve the Germans 
in proclaiming the failure of Mechanical Warfare. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 169 



Cft 



Make this effort a great enterprise of its own. 
Several types of Tanks will have to be incorporated 
as the different new designs are introduced. 

*^ Finally this great force would consist of brigades 
of Tanks of different designs, each organised for its 
own particular r51e ; all organised under one head, who 
would be responsible for a Mechanical Army (trained 
with its complement of artillery and infantry, etc., 
until ready to complete its task) to win a decisive 
battle. 

** All arrangements for organisation, transport, etc., 
to be under this single head.*' 

Here is a letter from a very important Staff 
Officer to whom I sent this Memorandum : — 

**It is all a question of thinking big and thinking 
ahead and then bdiaving with sanity, holding fast to 
the principles of war and selecting your theatre of 
operations according to your weapon, or constructing 
your weapon according to your theatre. There are 
two theatres to consider: Flanders and Cambresis. 
The first has mud and the second wide and deep trenches. 
As I capnot imagine any one choosing Flanders again, 
our difficulties may be spanning power. This requires 
very careful consideration. 

*' The mud here is beyond description. I have never 
seen anything like it either on the Somme or the Ancre. 
The worst is our guns have destroyed the drainage 
system in the valleys, and little streams are now exten- 
sive swamps. Under our fire Belgium is going back to 
its primeval condition of a water-logged bog. 

" We can win the war if we want to, we won't if wc 
continue as at present — so at least I think.** 

On July 27th Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt and I 
ceased to attend the meetings of the Tank Com- 



160 TANKS 

mittee. We found that the three military mem- 
bers, who a month before had never even seen 
a Tank, laid down all rulings even with regard 
to design and production. They were in the 
majority, and we could do nothing. That day 
I wrote to the Prime Minister: — 



^* A crisis has arisen in the relations between the 
War Office and the Ministry of Munitions re the pipgress 
and development of Mechanical Warfare, namely, de- 
sign and production. ... I continually pressed the 
War Office that they diould establish a special Depart- 
ment of Tanks at the War Office, with whom my 
Department could deal as a link between the fighting 
and production sides. The War Office has set its face 
against this most resolutely. 

" I have had to visit nearly every Departmoit of 
the War Office on all sorts of vital questions and, 
naturally, with most unsatisfactory results. • . • The 
Committee is now interfering in design and production, 
which, if allowed to continue, will result in chaos and 
disaster. I refuse to allow this. 

^^To put the matter on a proper basis is a most 
simple matter. Those conversant with the whole sub- 
ject should be consulted, and the empty prejudices of 
the War Office cleared away. 

^ " The proposition must be clearly stated and an organ- 
isation formed to suit the case, not some old dug-out 
organisation which suits no modem requirements at all. 

"There are two portions of this development — one 
fighting and training, and the other design and pro- 
duction. For the former, a Director-General of Tanks, 
a member of the Army Council with a Department at 
at the War Office is essential. This Department must 
have ' G,' ' Q,' and ' A ' Branches as in the Royal 
Flying Corps. 



i;UN-(:AHRVrN(; TANK If. IHS) 



Gi:N-CAKUyiN(i TANK 



Some of the many stables where our tanks are housed. (/. 190) 



Central Workt-hops. Tanli Corps. Tanks ready for is 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 161 



U 



We already have a Director-General of Mechanical 
Warfare for the second portion. 

**A8 Design and Tactics are so nearly allied in 
Mechanical Warfare, there should be a connecting link 
in the form of a purely Advisory Committee, consisting 
of (War Office) Director-General of Tanks and Deputy 
Chief of General Staff, (Ministry of Munitions) Director- 
General of Mechanical Warfare, Chief Technical Adviser, 
with a neutral Chairman to give advice on questions of 
general policy. 

^* We are ahead of any army in the world in Mechanical 
Warfare. 

^' This is due, after the initial decision of Mr. Churchill, 
to the pioneers of the work, namely, the Mechanical 
Warfare Department of the Ministry of Munitions and 
the assistance of the Admiralty. 

** All the experimental work and testing, etc., is done 
by Naval men lent by the Admiralty. The War Office 
refuse all assistance. 

** For the progress of a great technical enterprise of 
this sort the experimaital and technical branches are 
all important and need a number of technical officers — 
younger men, who have the technical training. 

^^The War Office refuse all these demands^ refuse 
proper rank to those officers doing good work for this 
Department, making their positions quite impossible. 
On the one side the War Office ask for complete co- 
operation with the Front, re design, etc., and then 
make it practically impossible for me to send technical 
men over by refu^ng commissions and suitable rank to 
those who hold conunissions. 

**A11 the technical men, consequently, go into the 
Flying Corps, where their cases are treated with con- 
sideration and common sense. If it was not for the 
Admiralty laiding my Department some 400 to 500 
men for experimental and testing work, and giving my 



162 TANKS 

technical officers honorary oonumssions, I doubt if the 
Tanks would ever have been produced in large numbers. 

" Sir Douglas Haig thanked me at the Battle of the 
Somme, September 17th, 1916, for the part we had 
played in producing the Tanks, whidi were responsible 
for the greatest victory they had had since the Battle 
of the Mame, and mentioned in dispatches Captain 
Holden, the Deputy Director-General of the Mechanical 
Warfare Supply Department, Major W. G. Wilson, 
Director, Captain K. Symes, Director, and Lieut. W. 
Rendle, Assistant Director. 

" These officers all hold high positions in my Depart- 
ment. I have requested time after time that they 
should be promoted to the rank consistent with their 
duties. They all joined up for the War, at or soon 
after the outbreak. They are continually going to 
the Front, but the War Office refuses, and General 
Capper refuses them all promotion." 

When I had written this, I had an interview with 
the D.C.I.6.S., Sir Robert Whigham, who told me 
that it was intended to form a Tank Department 
at the War Office on the lines I had suggested. 

I added a note to my Memorandum saying 
that I had heard this was to be done, and urging 
that if it were done we should need also an 
Advisory Committee to guide the War Office on 
all questions of main requirements and other 
important questions such as tactics and training 
in relation to design. This Committee, I sug- 
gested, should consist of : — 

D.C.I.6.S., Major-General Sir Robert Whigham. 
D.6., T.C., Major-General Sir J. E. Capper. 
D.G., M.W.D., lieut.-Colond A. G. Stem. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 168 

C3iief Technical Adviser, Sir E. H. T. d'Eyncourt. 

It should be clearly laid down that the War Office 
give the Ministry of Munitions their requirements of the 
main programme on the advice of the Committee as to 
type, but that the Ministry of Munitions must be 
entirely responsible for design, production, supply and 
transport, as hitherto. 

The Director-General of Tanks should deal with the 
Mechanical Warfare Department, through his ^* Q " 
Branch, for all details of design, manufacture, and 
supply of Tanks, both armament and equipment. 

The technical staff of this Tank Department at the 
War Office should be included in the ''Q" Branch 
(T. 8). 

Every effort should be made to discover and adopt 
methods of complete liaison with the fighting and 
training forces. It is suggested that a certain number of 
officers from these centres be attached for seven or 
fourteen days at a time continuously throughout the 
year to the Mechanical Warfare Experimental Grounds, 
and every facility should be given to the Mechanical 
Warfare Department Officers to visit the front and home 
camps as at the present time. 

The War Office should recognise that the Mechanical 
Warfare Department is exceptionally and intimately 
related in these stages of development with the fij^ting 
force and assumes, in certain of its Departments, an 
absolutely miUtary character, and that, subject to the 
usual approval, commissions and promotions should be 
granted, where necessary, in the Tank Corps. 

While we were fighting for the proper manage- 
ment, and even for the very existence of Tanks, 
at home, the following special order appeared 
in France, showing what they were capable of 
doing: — 



164 TANKS 

^* The fottawing Summary of the acUan of Tank PAl 
{Fmat BsMTaos), on the 22nd to 24A August^ is published 
for the information ofaU Banks : — 

^^F.ilf aooompanied by the Section Commander, 
crossed our lines on the 2S^d at 4.45 a.m., near Spbee 
Fabm and proceeded eastwards with the Objectives 
SoMME Fabm — Galupou — ^BIaetha House. The Tank 
engaged and cleared Somme Fabm. When in action 
against Gallipoli the Tank conmiander was wounded, 
and while the section commander was taking his place, 
the Tank became ditched. The Tank continued in 
action, and our infantry entered Galupou and went 
forward to the north of it. At this time a hostile 
counter-attack developed, driving our troops back and 
regaining Galupou. Within sight of the Tank the 
counter-attack was dealt with and broken by 6-pounder 
and Lewis-gun fire; heavy casualties were inflicted. 
F. 41 was now isolated. 

** As our infantry were firing on the Tank from the 
rear, thinking it had been captured by the enemy, the 
sergeant succeeded in getting back to them and informed 
them that we still occupied the Tank and would hold out. 

'' During the 22nd, the night 22nd-28rd, the 28rd» 
the night 28rd-24th, and the day of the 24th, the 
officers and crew, though all wounded, maintained their 
position, although heavily sniped by day and attacked 
each night. During these attacks the enemy actually 
got on top of the Tank and brought a machine-gun up 
at very close range without effect. 

**At 9 p.m. on the evening of the 24th, the crew 
having maintained themselves for sixty-two hours, 500 
jrards in advance of and out of touch with our line, and 
having been seventy-two hours in the Tank, decided to 
evacuate. This was successfully done. 

** Casualties. — '- Officers, 2 wounded ; other ranks, 
1 killed 4 wounded." 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 166 

At this time also the Gun-carrier Tank went 
into action with great success. 

Mr. Churchill had now become Minister of 
Munitions, but things were still unsettled. There 
was no final authority on the Army side. There 
was a General at the Front and a General in 
London, and a General at the Training Camp at 
Wool, and no one had authority in all three 
places. So we went on for some weeks, and on 
the 19th September I wrote to Mr. Churchill : — 

**Lack of action and lack of decision will most 
assuredly ruin the chances of Mechanical Warfare for 
1018. 

**I have discussed the possibilities of Mechanical 
Warfare with the General Staff, and I think they agree 
with me that Mechanical Warfare on a small scale is 
waste of treasure and effort. 

** Every day and every hour that passes renders 
Mechanical Warfare on a large scale for 1018 more 
improbable. 

** On July 28rd, you informed me that after a pre« 
liminary study generally of the Ministry ypu would 
investigate the position of Mechanical Warfare. It is 
now two months since that date. Immediate action 
must be taken.'* 

I then repeated my suggestions for an Ad- 
visory Committee, and went on to describe how 
the existing Committee worked : — 

**It has five members; the two members of the 
Ministry of Munitions have the experioice and know* 
ledge of developing Mechanical Warfare since February 
1015, and have been responsible for the production of 



1«6 TANKS 

some 80,000 tons of Tanks within a year, with hardly 
a complaint considering that it is an absolutely new 
development* 

^^ This Committee has three members who had never 
been in a Tank till a few months ago when this Conmiittee 
was appointed. 

" Every detail goes through this Committee, it in- 
structs our best drawing-office to be filled up with 
priority of a design which we, the experts, do not 
approve, with residtant delay to real progress ; it fails 
to take the necessary action and risks which a head of 
enterprise must take at all hours of the day. 

** Since its existence, it has done nothing to further 
Mechanical Warfare, one of the most technical of all 
war developments. This country is pre-eminent in 
Mechanical Warfare, by reason of Mr. Lloyd George and 
Mr. Montagu deputising to the experts and allowing no 
red tape or out-of-date formulas to clog the wheels of 
progress. 

"The Ministry of Munitions' representatives. Sir 
Eustace d'Eyncourt and myself, as all our protests were 
unheeded, ceased to attend the Committee, but, at the 
urgent request of Sir Arthur Duckham, are again 
attending. 

" Complete chaos is the result of this ill-advised 
and ill-considered enterprise, the Tank Committee. I 
shudder to think of the harvest which you will reap 
next year if this is allowed to continue." 

On September 21st I wrote a further Memo- 
randum to Mr. Churchill : — 

" At the request of Sir William Robertson, the 
C.I.6.S., I explained the latest Tank developments and 
showed him the new one-man transmission at our 
Experimental Ground. 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 167 

** After a lengthy discussion I gather that he agrees 
that the sdence of Mechanical Warfare has reached a 
point when mechanical cavalry in large quantities, in 
conjunction with other arms, have a better chance than 
any known weapon of winning a decisive battle. 

** We believe that we have the design of such a 
machine* 

*^He agrees that all our resources for manufacture 
of Tanks should be devoted to the production of fij^ting 
Tanks. 

*^ I wish to again draw attention to my minute of 
24/7/17.1 

*^ Here I suggested that a Tank effort should be a 
great aiterprise of its own, all organised under one 
head. Now I suggest a still greater effort : let a great 
General organise our effort in conjunction with the 
Americans and the French; my Department can 
organise the production in conjunction with the Allied 
Generals. 

** My Department could give all the drawings, specifi- 
cations and our experience, and foster the allied output. 

** England could probably produce some 2000 machines 
of this type by July 1st, America probably 4000, France 
periiaps 500. 

** This would give the Allies an overwhebning power 
for victory to which no antidote at present exists. 

** Secrecy is essential." 



On the 29th of September, 1917, Mr. Churchill 
called a meeting of the Imperial General Staff of 
the War Office, the General Staff in France and 
the Commanders of the Tanks at the Front and 
in England. 

General Butler desired an entirely new pro- 

^ The minute on Tank Tactics. See p. 156. 



168 TANKS 

gramme. He said that the number of Tanks 
got out depended on the number of men available, 
and Sir Douglas Haig estimated that there would 
be only 18,500 men available. He asked also 
that Mark V.s should replace Mark IV.s, and 
that as few as possible of Medium A (the Whippet) 
should be made. Some ^^ Supply " Tanks would 
be required, but he did not say how many. It 
was decided to meet again on October 10th. 

The priority at this time was Aeroplanes first, 
Guns and Aimnunition second, Mechanical Trans- 
port third. Locomotives fourth, and Tanks fifth. 

On the 4th October the following recommenda- 
tions were put forward to Mr. Churchill by Sir 
Arthur Duckham, Ministry of Munitions, Member 
of Council for Tanks : — 

" Tanks 

*^The situation at present may be summarised as 
follows : — 

*^ Both the design and supply of Tanks have been 
in the hands of the Mechanical Warfare Supply Depart- 
ment, and they were the only people who had any 
direct knowledge on the subject of Tanks until supplies 
were in the hands of the Army. Through the use of 
Tanks in battle and also through their use over old 
battlefields for the purpose of training, the officers in 
France are acquiring an actual knowledge of the use 
and deficiencies of Tanks greater than that possessed 
by the Mechanical Warfare Supply Department. Mean- 
while, the M.W.S.D. has realised that the design of 
Tank now being manufactured suffers from consider- 
able disabilities, and they have made radical improve- 
ments in design to meet these. The War Office during 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 169 

training with Tanks at Wool are also finding troubles 
and are taking steps to overcome them, quite apart from 
the M.W.S.D.9 or the armies in France. Thus there 
are three different bodies making trials and doing 
experimental work without any proper co-ordination. 

** It has been necessary to form in the War Office 
a Department under a Director-General to control the 
requirements for and use of Tanks, and the supply 
and training of the personnel. An effort was made to 
control the general design of the Tanks required by a 
Conunittee of the War Office on which the M.W.S.D. 
was represented by Colonel Stem and Sir Eustace 
d'Eyncourt, but the Tank Corps in France was not 
represented at all. This arrangement has proved un- 
workable, as the Committee not only considered the 
general specification but also endeavoured to control 
working designs. I have discussed matters with Generals 
VHiigham, Capper and EUes, and also with Colonel 
Stem and Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt, and I have obtained 
a general agreement in the following scheme : — 

**That the existing Conunittee be dissolved and a 
new one set up composed of : — 






'-General Capper (Chairman). 
General EUes, Tank Corps, France» or his nominee 

from his staff. 
Colonel Stem, D.G.M.W.S.D. 
Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt. 



This Committee should meet fortnightly in France 
and England in turn and its duties should be : — 

(a) To discuss the requirements and possibilities of 
supply of Tanks and formulate programmes. 

(6) To advise on what Une experimental work shall 
take and where it shall be carried out. 

(e) To discuss tactics as affecting design. 



170 TANKS 

(d) To arrange for a close liaison between the users 
of the Tanks and the producers. 

** Only general specification M affected by con- 
ditions at the Front would be discussed and settled by 
the Committee, actual deagn would be carried out 
entirely by the M.W.S.D. 

** Liaison would be obtained as follows : — 

(a) By providing a representative of the M.W.S J)« 

with an office, an assistant and a clerical staff 
at the head repair shops in France. 

(b) By a representative of the Tank Corps in France 

and a representative of the Tank Department 
of the War Office, being members of the Design 
Committee of the M.W.S.D.** 

On the 8th October a meeting was held under 
the presidency of Mr. Churchill, with repre- 
sentatives of the War Office and Ministry of 
Munitions, when it was decided to adopt Sir 
Arthur Duckham's recommendations. 

On October 14th General Foch sent a message 
to me that he wished to inspect the latest de- 
velopment of Mechanical Warfare. I took him 
down to our Experimental Ground at Dollis 
Hill and showed him Mark V., which was the 
latest type of heavy Tank, manoeuvring and 
crossing wide trenches. He also saw the Gun- 
carrier. He congratulated me on the wonder- 
ful improvements and said, ^^You must make 
quantities and quantities. We must fight 
mechanically. Men can no longer attack with a 
chance of success without armoured protection." 

Instead, however, of orders being given for 



FIGHTING THE WAR OFFICE 171 

thousands of Tanks, as I had hoped, Mr. Churchill 
told me that the requirements for the Army for 
1918 were to be 1850 fighting Tanks. This I 
determined to fight with every means in my 
power, and I told Mr. Churchill so. I then had 
an interview with Sir William Robertson, Chief 
of the Imperial General Staff, and told him that 
the proposed preparations for 1918 were wholly 
and entirely inadequate. Sir William Robertson 
replied that this seemed pretty straight. I re- 
plied that it was meant to be straight. 

Sir William Robertson was extremely polite and 
shook hands with me when I left. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE WAR OFFICE GETS ITS WAY 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE WAB OFFICE OETS ITS WAY 

October 1917 to November 1917 

On the 11th of October I asked for an inter- 
view with Mr. Churchill in order to put my 
views before him, for he appeared to be taking 
the advice of the War Office and not of the 
pioneers of Mechanical Warfare. I told him that 
I had served three Ministers of Munitions, that 
I had had the confidence and support of all 
three (Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Montagu and Dr. 
Addison), that as a result I had done efficient work, 
and that without his confidence I could not make 
a success of Mechanical Warfare. He replied 
that I had his confidence, but that the War Office 
wanted a change made. The War Office, he said, 
accused me of lumbering them up with useless 
Tanks at the Front and of wasting millions of the 
public money. Here I asked him to go slowly, 
as I wished to take down this astounding state- 
ment. In the opinion of the War Office, he said, 
there had been a total failure in design, no pro- 
gress had been made, all the money spent on 
Tanks had been wasted, and the belief in Mechan- 
ical Warfare was now at such a low ebb that they 
proposed to give it up entirely. Mr. Churchill 

175 



176 TANKS 

paid me flattering compliments, and said that 
the country would reward me suitably for my 
great services. 

I told him that I had fought against the forces 
of reaction from the day when the order for 1000 
Tanks was cancelled by the Army Council without 
the knowledge of Mr. Lloyd George, although he 
was Secretary of State for War, and as a result 
of my protest was reinstated the next day ; that 
time after time we had saved the War Office 
from wasting millions of money and going entirely 
wrong, and that our advice had finally been 
taken in each case in correction of the War 
Office's original action ; I challenged Mr. Churchill 
to produce a single case where I had done any- 
thing to prevent progress and a free play of ideas, 
and I gave him two examples of the way in which 
I had worked. The transmission in the first 
Tanks was not very satisfactory. Immediately 
after the first Tank battle on the Somme I had 
put in hand every possible design of transmis- 
sion, that we might discover the best. Again, on 
March 7th, 1917, I proposed to Dr. Addison to 
take over Sir William Tritton and Messrs. Foster's 
factory solely for experimental work, but Dr. 
Addison was unable to agree to this, as the future 
of Tanks was at that time too doubtful. 

So our interview ended. 

On October 16th I was told by Sir Arthur 
Duckham that three Generals at the War Office 
had asked for my removal. In this connection I 
will quote a letter received on the same day from 



TASKS CUT t 



■ ACTllIN (/I (WI) 



TANKS OIT OF I 



,lEtlT. COLONEL J A, DRAIN. U.S.R. (/•. 197) 



THE WAR OFFICE GETS ITS WAY 177 

the 6.O.C., Tanks in France, giving his views on 
what the Department was doing for him : — 



** You deserve a bar to your C.M.6. ; and, seriously, 
we are extremely obliged to all of you for your very 
prompt action. 

** Now we are very anxiously depending on you to 
solve two main conundrums which confront us : — 

(a) Adevice to get the Mark IV. and Mark V. Tanks 

over a wide trench, and 
(i) Some very simple dodge by which we may be 

able to put on the unditching gear fiom 

the inside of the Tank. 

** We are trying a hook which is placed on a ring fixed 
either to a spud or to a track Unk between two wooden 
spuds. This hook is put on by hand through the aper- 
ture in the manhole, which we have enlarged to the 
breadth of the machine for the purpose. 

*^ The weather has been ghastly lately, and the battle 
conditions are very trying, with all this rain and wet.*' 



The whole trouble with the War Office was that 
I had pressed for a large programme of Tanks — 
at least 4000 — for the fighting of 1918, but the 
Committee, against which we had continually 
protested, with its War Office majority of Generals 
who knew nothing of Tanks, had overruled me. 
Now, at a time when the decisions of experts were 
absolutely necessary in preparation for 1918, and 
when it was clear to us that enormous quantities 
of Tanks were needed, the War Office programme 
was for 1850 Tanks. Mr. Churchill told me that 
he agreed with Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt and me 



N 



178 TANKS 

that quantities of Tanks were necessary for 1918, 
but as Minister of Munitions he could not argue 
with the Generals at the War Office about their 
requirements ; his business simply was to supply 
what they wanted. This appeared to us a crying 
shame. We knew the thousands of casusdties 
that the Tanks had already saved in the attacks 
on the German machine-gun positions. 

Next day Sir E. d'Eyncourt and I asked for 
an interview with Mr. Churchill. He refused to 
see Sir E. d'Eyncourt, and told me that, with 
regret, he had decided to appoint a new man in 
my place, and therefore there was no object in 
discussing the situation. He added that he was 
in power, and therefore it was his responsibility, 
and that he had taken the advice of the Council 
member. Sir Arthur Duckham. I told him that 
I would not resign, as I believed it to be against 
the public interest, but that he could dismiss me. 

Next day I received the following letter from 
him: — 

*' Minig^ of Mun4Uon$t 

*' WhUehaU Place, 8.W.. 
" Odober IQih, 1917. 

'^ Dear Colonel Stern, 

^^ As I told you in our conversation on Friday, 
I have decided, upon the advice of the Member of Council 
in whose group your department is, and after very 
careful consideration of all the circumstances, to make 
a change in the headship of the Mechanical Warfare 
Supply Department. 

*' I propose, therefore, to appoint Vice-Admiral Sir 
Gordon Moore to succeed you, and this appointment will 
be announced in the next two or three days. 



THE WAR OFFICE GETS ITS WAY 179 

^* I shall be glad to hear from you without delay 
whether those other aspects of activity' in connection 
with the development of Tanks in France and America, 
on which Sir Arthur Duckham has spoken to you, 
commend themselves to you. 

*^ Meanwhile I must ask you to continue to discharge 
your duties until such time as you are relieved. 

** Yours very truly, 

" Winston S. CnuBCHnx." 

I had an interview with Sir Arthur Duckham 
on the same day, and he told me that Mr. 
Churchill was unable to persuade the War Office 
to have a larger number of Tanks, but that as he 
was a believer in Mechanical Warfare, it was his 
opinion that America should be persuaded to arm 
herself with the necessary number of Tanks for 
next year's fighting. 

He told me that Mr. Churchill considered it 
my duty, as the War Office did not wish to develop 
Mechanical Warfare on a large scale, to under- 
take its development among the Allies, and chiefly 
the Americans. At this time I also saw the Prime 
Minister, and said that I was willing to undertake 
any duties which the country might call upon 
me to perform. On October 25th Mr. Churchill 
wrote to me as follows : — 

^^ I was very glad to hear from you yesterday that 
you are ready to undertake the new appointment of 
Commissicmer for Mechanical Warfare (Overseas and 
Allies) Department, which I am now in a position to 
offer you. I need scarcely say that I should not have 
offered you this new appointment if I had not full oon- 



180 TANKS 

fidence in your ability to pertonn its duties satisfac- 
torily. You should settle the questions which may arise 
in legaid to your staff with Admiral Moore and Sir 
Arthur Duckham. They will, I am sure, have every 
desire to meet your wishes and requirements. But at 
the same time I rely upon you not to ask for more 
assistance than is absolutely necessary. Recommenda- 
tions as to the status and emoluments of any officers 
upon your staff should be made through the Member 
of Council in whose group your department lies. It 
seems to me that your first duty will clearly be to get 
into touch with the American Army and discuss with 
General Pershing, or his officers, what steps we should 
take to assist them with the supply of Tanks. 

^^ Perhaps I may take the opportunity of your assump- 
tion of new duties and responsibilities to convey to you 
on behalf of the Ministry of Munitions a sincere appre- 
ciation of the services which you have rendeied to the 
Tanks in the earlier stages of their development. No 
one knows better than I the difficulties and antagonisms 
with which you had to contend or the personal force 
and determination with which you overcame them. 

^* The fact that at this period in the history of the 
Tank development I have found it necessary to make a 
diange in personnel is in no sense a disparagement of 
the work you have done successfully in the past, and I 
can only hope that you will continue to apply to your 
new duties the same qualities of energy and resource 
which have already proved so valuable, and not allow 
yourself to be discouraged by the changes which it has 
been thought necessary to make. 

" In spite of what you said to me yesterday * evening, 
I still propose to submit your name to the Prime Minister 
for inclusion in the forthcoming honours list. I think 

^ Mr. Churchill had said the night before that he was 
putting my name in for an honour, and I had refused it. 



THE WAR OFFICE GETS ITS WAY 181 

this would only be right and proper so far as you are 
concerned, and that it would be helpful to you in the 
new work which you are undertaking. Unless I hear 
from you to the contrary my reconmiendation will go 
forward* 

** I enclose a formal statement of your new appoint- 
ment and its duties." 

On October 29th I accepted the position. On 
the same day I warned Mr. Churcldll once more 
that the progress of design and the output of the 
Tanks would most surely suffer. In the mean- 
time Admiral Sir A. 6. H. W. Moore had been 
appointed the Controller of the Mechanical 
Warfare Department. 

Up to the date of his appointment Admiral 
Moore Jiad never even seen a Tank. 



CHAPTER DC 

THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 



CHAPTER DC 

THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 

November 1917 to January 1918 

As soon as the United States had entered the 
war, in the spring of 1917, I had called on the 
American Military Attach^ in London, Colonel 
Lassiter, and asked him to come and see our 
Tanks at the Experimental Ground, which he 
did. At that time he was the sole military 
representative of the United States in London 
and was fully occupied with all sorts of questions 
of war equipment, so that he was unable to devote 
any of his time to the question of Tanks. 

Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt determined, therefore, 
to see whether we could not arouse the enthusiasm 
of the Americans by getting the Navy and 
the Ambassador to see the Tanks. In June 
Mr. Page, Admiral Sims and Admiral Mayo, 
with some forty naval officers, came to the 
Experimental Ground at Dollis Hill. They were 
delighted with what they saw. Admiral Mayo 
thought that the Tank was the very weapon 
for the Marines, and Mr. Page told me that he 
would cable to President Wilson that he con- 
sidered it a crime to attack machine-guns with 
human flesh when you could get armoiured 

186 



186 TANKS 

machines, and machines, too, which he would 
never have believed capable of performing the 
feats actually carried out that day before him. 

As a result of this Colonel Lassiter once more 
interviewed me. He said that the Tanks must 
be for the Army, not the Marines, and agreed to 
cable for a technical expert to be sent over from 
the United States. This technical expert was 
Major H. W. Alden, who arrived on October 
theSrd. 

Now, at the beginning of November, having 
fought in vain for the greatest possible develop- 
ment of Mechanical Warfare in this country, I 
took up my new post and set to work to see 
what could be done with our Allies. 

Mr. Churchill had given me the following 
letter to General Pershing and a similar letter 
to M. Loucheur, Minister of Munitions of the 
French Government :— 

** Mt dear General Pebshino, 

*^ The bearer of this letter, Colonel Stem, has 
been appointed by me Commissioner of Mechanical War- 
fare (Overseas and Allies) Department, and proposes 
to establish an office in Paris in connection with his 
appointment. 

^^ I have instructed Colonel Stem to call upon you, 
as I desire that he should work in the closest relations 
with the American authorities. All communications 
from the Allies on questions of design, supply and 
experiments in relation to Tanks are in future to be 
dealt with in the first instance by Colonel Stem, and, if 
only for this reason, it is desirable that he should make 
himself known to you. 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 187 

^^ The immediate object of his visit is to discuss with 
the I^ench and American authorities, as my repre- 
sentative, the general situation of Tanks and how best 
to develop their production. In particular he pro- 
poses, with Monsieur Loucheur's concurrence, to study 
the possibility of finding a factory in France in which 
Tanks of a less recent design than that now in use can 
be converted into improved types. The possibility of 
furthering the assembling and even the construction of 
Tanks in France for the Allies will also be considered 
by him in consultation with the French administration. 

*^ If you would be so good as to accord to Colonel 
Stem an interview he would be able to explain to you 
at greater length the precise objects of his mission. 

** As you are no doubt aware, he is one of the pioneers 
of Mechanical Warfare, and until assuming his present 
appointment was responsible for the supply of Tanks 
to the British Army. 

** Yours sincerely, 

** Winston S. CHUBcmix.'' 

On November 11th I had an interview with 
General Pershing and his staff and laid before 
him our proposals. He was very much in favour 
of the project, and said that he would give a 
decision within a few days. On November 14th 
he wired his approval. 

A fortnight later I was able to tell Mr. Churchill 
that I had discussed the question of co-operation 
with Major J. A. Drain and Major Alden, repre- 
senting the U.S. Army, and with M. Loucheur, 
representing the French Government, and that 
I had the honour to make the following pro- 
posals: — 



188 TANKS 

** (1) That a partnership of the U.S.A. and Great 
Britain should be incorporated for the pro- 
duction of 1500 heavy Tanks at the earliest 
possible date, to be erected in France. 

** (2) A number of these Tanks should be supplied to 
France if she should require them, in order to 
further the higher purpose of Allied unity. 

** (8) It might be convenient for France to supply an 
erecting shop without depleting her other 
supplies, but it might be wiser in any case to 
build a new erecting shop. 

** (4) No insuperable difficulties can be seen for the 
joint supply of components ; the O-pounders, 
ammunition and armour by Great Britain; 
engines, transmission, forgings, chains, etc., 
by the U.S A. 

^* (6) The design will be founded on the British 
experience with the U.S A. ideas and resources. 
It will eliminate most of the faults of the 
present heavy Tank in H.P., loading, crossing 
power, namely, the fault of not getting there. 

^* The following is a rough comparison of the two 
types: — 

Mark IV. Liberty Type 

Power .... 100 H.P. 800 H.P. 

Loading .... 25 % lower than 

Mark IV. 
Crossing power 11 feet 14 feet 

Weight .... 28 tons 80 tons 

''The LiBEBTY Ttpe should have a considerable 
carrying capacity in addition to its fighting power. 

** (6) Major Alden will collaborate in making the 
working drawings of new design before Christ- 
mas in London; all facilities of English 



riT 



! ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 189 



engineersy draughtsmen and drawing offices 
must be put at his disposal. The design to 
be agreed upon by U.SA. and Great Britain. 

** (7) Labour other than skilled might be met by 
Chinese. The French Authorities see no local 
difficulties in accommodating such labour. 

** (8) It is hoped to work up to 800 Tanks a month 
after April. 

' ^ (9) This will be a limited enterprise, and therefore a 
very high specified priority should be given 
by the three Governments concerned in raw 
materials, labour, factories and transport. 

^ ' (10) The entire management must be in the hands 
of the British and American Commissioners, 
jointly with the French Commissioner, where 
it concerns France. 

^ ^ It is hardly necessary to point out the great ad- 
vantages of international standardisation or unity of 
manufacture. 

1. In production. 

2. In repair and spares. 
8. In progress. 

4. In training and tactical use.'* 

On November 28rd, having had no reply from 
Mr. Churchill, I saw the Prime Minister and 
explained to him that the Americans had agreed 
to build jointly with us 1500 Tanks. I said that 
ten days had passed without a decision, and that 
they were chafing at the delay. 

Next day I was informed by Sir Arthur Duck- 
ham that Mr. Churchill cordially approved my 
scheme for co-operation with the Americans, and 
suggested that M. Loucheur, French Minister of 
Munitions, should also be a party to the scheme. 



190 TANKS 

M. Loucheur repeated that he could not join 
with us, as France had neither men, maqhinery, 
nor material to spare. 

On the 26th of November the Ministry of 
Munitions informed the War Office that in 
order that the Allied Armies might be provided 
with Tanks in adequate numbers, there should 
be the greatest measure of co-operation between 
the Ministry of Munitions and the Departments 
of the Allied Governments responsible for the 
production of Tanks. With th^ end in view a 
new Department, known as the Mechanical War- 
fare (Overseas and Allies) Department, had been 
formed, and lieut.-Colonel A. G. Stem, C.M.G., 
had been appointed to be head of it, with the 
title of Conmiissioner. The Department would 
act in accordance with the rules and procedure 
prescribed by the Inter-Allied Council or other 
co-ordinating authority in the United States or 
elsewhere, and also of any officers appointed to 
supervise all the Munitions Departments in Paris. 
A statement of the Commissioner's duties was 
also forwarded to the War Office, with a request 
that the necessary notification be made within 
the War Office and to G.H.Q., France. 

Before this had come the news of the battle of 
Cambrai. There for the first time the Tanks 
had fought as we had always wished, across 
good ground, without a preliminary bombard- 
ment, and in large numbers— over 400. With 
their help General Byng had won what up to 
that time was the greatest victory of the war, 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 191 

the greatest in the territory gain and the prisoners 
captured, and the greatest in its economy both 
of lives and ammunition. 

A Tank attack on such a scale had meant 
enormous preparation. Five million rounds of 
Small Arms Ammunition, 165,000 gallons of 
petrol and 55,000 lbs. of grease were a few of the 
things collected in advance at the Tank dumps. 
Moreover, the Tanks had for this attack to be 
fitted with a special device. The span of the 
Mark IV. was ten feet, and it was known that 
in many places the Hindenburg trenches were 
twelve feet wide. Great cylinders of brushwood 
were constructed 4 feet 6 inches in diameter and 
10 feet long. Each of these gigantic fascines 
was made up of a number of ordinary fascines 
bound together with chains. These chains were 
drawn tight by two Tanks pulling in opposite 
directions. The fascine was carried on the nose 
of the Tank and could be released by a catch 
from inside, the idea being that when a Tank 
came to a broad trench it would fill it up by 
dropping in its fascine, and so cross over. In 
the battle, however, it was hardly found necessary 
to use them at all. 

Besides the Tanks working with the infantry, 
each Brigade had twelve Supply Tanks or Gun- 
carriers and three Wireless Signal Tanks, while 
thirty-two were fitted with towing gear and 
grapnels to clear the wire along the line by which 
the cavalry were to advance. Four hundred and 
twenty-two Tanks in all went into action. 



192 TANKS 

They deployed on a line about 1000 yards 
from the enemy's outpost trenches, and at ten 
minutes past six, in a thick ground mist on the 
morning of November 20th, they began to move 
forward. General Elles led the attack in the 
centre, flying on his Tank the Tank Corps colours.^ 
It was the first British flag to fly in the Hinden- 
burg Line. Close behind the Tanks came the 
infantry. For ten minutes they advanced 
through the mist in complete silence. Then a 
thousand guns behind the British lines simul- 
taneously opened fire, and their barrage of 
shrapnel, high explosive and smoke shells crashed 
down 200 yards before the advancing Tanks. 

The success of the attack was complete. The 
enemy ran for it or surrendered with very little 
fighting. Only at the tactical points did they 
make any serious resistance. In Lateau Wood 
there was a duel between a Tank and a 5*9 
howitzer. The gun turned on the Tank, and 
with its first shell tore off most of the right-hand 

^ The histonr of these colours should be recorded. About 
the middle of August, 1917, General Elles and Colonel 
Hardress-Lloyd went to Cassel. For some time past General 
Elles had thought that the Tank Corps should nave colours 
like the Flying Corps. There at Cassel in a little shop the 
Colours were chosen. The colour scheme was to S3mibolise 
three things — ^mud, fire or the fighting spirit, and green 
field or ^^ good going " ; for the whole ambition of the Tank 
Corps was to fight its way through the mud to the green 
fielas beyond. It is interesting, luso, to note that the first 
Allied troops to enter Cologne were the 17th Tank Armoured 
Car Battalion, the leading machine of which was flying the 
Tank Corps colours. On reaching the Rhine, the flag was 
run up over the river. 



LIEIT COLONtl. J. 



Tank Factory. Neuvy Pailloux 



Tank Factory, Neuvy Paillou*, France, (f. ^20) 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 198 

sponson, but none of the vitals were touched. 
Before the gunners could reload the Tank was 
on the top of them and had crushed the gun 
down into the surrounding brushwood. 

Other Tanks, meanwhile, had topped the ridge 
and were hurrying down into the village of 
Masni^res. Here was a bridge over the canal. 
It was the way to the next ridge and it still 
stood. A Tank made for it, but as it neared 
the middle, the bridge bent and broke and the 
Tank was flung into the canal. Other Tanks 
came up and with their fire covered the crossing 
of the infantry. 

Into Marcoing the Tanks came so quickly 
that they shot down the engineers just as they 
were connecting up the electric batteries to the 
demolition charges on the main bridge. Every- 
where the hurried retreat of the Germans could 
be traced by the equipment that they had thrown 
off as they ran. 

While the attacking Tanks were driving the 
German infantry before them, the Supply Tanks 
had moved up to their rendezvous; the Wire- 
pullers had cleared three broad tracks of all 
wire so that the cavalry could move forward, 
and the Wireless Signal Tanks had reached 
their positions. Ten minutes after the infantry 
had entered Marcoing, a Signal Tank had sent 
back the news that the village was captured. 

In one place, the ridge by the village of Fles* 

qui^res, the Tanks unfortunately got too far 

ahead of the infantry. On the crest they came 
o 



194 TANKS 

under heavy artillery fire at short range and 
suffered heavy casualties. Had the infantry 
been close behind them this loss would have 
mattered less, but as soon as the Tanks were 
knocked out the German machine-guns came up 
again among the ruins. Flesqui^res was not 
taken until next day. Elsewhere, Tanks and 
infantry worked in close co-operation and with 
complete success. 

By four in the afternoon the battle was won, 
and, so far as the Tanks were concerned, was 
tactically finished. There were no reserves, and 
all that could be done was to rally the weary 
crews, select the fittest Tanks and patch up 
composite companies to continue the attack 
next day. But next day and the succeeding 
days of attack, although notable things were 
done, and on the 28rd Bourlon Wood was briU 
liantly taken by the 40th Division working with 
thirty-four Tanks of the 1st Brigade, there was 
no longer the same close co-operation between 
the Tanks and the infantry. New infantry had 
come up into the line. 

That first day, however, had shown what 
could be done when Tanks in numbers worked on 
a scientific scheme with the infantry. In twelve 
hours on that day, on a front of 18,000 yards, 
the attacking force had penetrated the enemy's 
lines to a depth of 10,000 yards and had taken 
8000 prisoners and 100 guns. The prisoners 
alone were nearly twice the number of the 
casualties suffered by the attacking troops. 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 196 

The number of the Tank Corps engaged was a 
little over 4000 — ^no more, that is, than one 
strong Infantry Brigade, and that small body 
of men replaced the artillery, and made un- 
necessary the old preliminary bombardment. 
They did this also against trenches of peculiar 
strength sited on the reverse slopes of the main 
ridges, so that direct artillery observation of 
them was impossible, and protected by immensely 
thick bands and fields of wire. It would have 
taken several weeks of bombardment and many 
thousands of tons of ammunition to do what 
the Tanks did in their stride, did without any 
warning to the enemy, and did more effectively* 

Moreover, once the wire was broken and the 
infantry was at work, the Tanks were able to 
work much more closely with them for their 
protection than had ever been found possible 
for the artillery. 

On November 26th Sir Douglas Haig wired 
to the Mechanical Warfare Department : — 

'* The Tanks pbovided by youb Depabticent have 
bekdered veby valuable sebvices in battle neab 

CamBBAI. I BEO YOU TO ACCEPT AND CONVEY TO ALL 
THOSE UNDEB YOU WHOSE SKILL ANt> LABOUB HAVE 
PBODUCED THE TaNKS THE GBATEFUL THANKS OF THE 

Abmy in Fbance.*' 

And in reply to a telegram of congratulations 
to General Elles, I received the following reply : — 

** Veby many thanks. It was youb battle too.*' 



196 TANKS 

On November 26th Mr, Churchill sent for me. 
I spoke of the great success of the Tanks at 
Cambrai, where they had been used — as they 
were meant to be used — in quantity and without 
any preliminary bombardment. I reminded him 
that not a month ago the War Office had accused 
me of lumbering up the Front with useless Tanks, 
these very 400. 

I once more told him that the present organisa- 
tion would never produce Tanks in quantity or 
in time tp win the war in 1918. Mr. Churchill 
asked what I meant and who it was I wished 
to place in charge of the Mechanical Warfare 
Department. I replied that I had no wish to 
place anybody in charge, but simply to warn 
him that the present organisation would not 
produce Tanks. This warning I repeated in a 
letter three days later when I wrote : — 

** I hope you will allow me to express my ocmviction 
that the demands and preparations of the military 
authorities with regard to Mechanical Warfare for the 
fighting season of 1918 are entirely inadequate, and that 
changes which you have made in this Department at 
this critical time (and which involve reconsideration 
of design and consequent loss of production) will most 
seriously affect even the efficiency of this progranune 
for next season's fighting. 

** This is also the considered opinion of my technical 
and commercial advisers.*' 

On the 6th of December Mr. Churchill gave his 
approval to the Anglo-American scheme. I 



riT 



! ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 197 



was appointed British Commissioner^ and Major 
James A. Drain of the United States Army 
was to be appointed American Commissioner. 
The entire business was to be directly under the 
Commissioners and to be called the *^ Anglo- 
American Commission.'' 

Major Drain had been a General in the National 
Guard in the States^ and as soon as his country 
declared war had come over to France, where 
he had been serving in the American Ordnance 
Department. He was a business man, and a 
man of great breadth of view. He saw at once 
that we should get the best results if the Americans 
adopted practically all our suggestions with 
regard to design, tested as they had been by 
our experience in the field, and set themselves 
to produce the intricate machinery required out 
of their vast resources. 

The general type of design had been settled 
at a conference held at 6.H.Q., France, on 
December 4th, at which were present representa- 
tives of all the fighting branches concerned. 
Details of design were to be in the hands of a 
Committee under Major Drain and myself, con- 
sisting of Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt, representing 
the Mechanical Warfare Department, Major H. 
W. Alden, representing the American Govern- 
ment, and Captain Green, representing the Tank 
Corps. 

It had been agreed at the many meetings 
which had already been held that this programme, 
half the components for which were to come 



198 TANKS 

from England and half from America, should 
have priority after the War Office programme 
of 1850 Tanks, and before any extended War 
Office progranmie. 

In order that the necessary priority should 
be respected, both in England and in America, 
by the many different Departments of the respec- 
tive Grovemments (experience having taught us 
that this priority must be over all Departments), 
I invited the American Commissioner to meet 
Mr. Uoyd Grcorge in order that he might suggest 
to him that a Treaty be drawn up between the 
highest authority in America and the highest 
authority in this country. This Mr. Lloyd 
George agreed to do, and the War Cabinet 
on January 8th, 1918, approved a Treaty which 
was signed later by Mr. Page, on behalf of the 
United States of America, and Mr. Balfour on 
behalf of Great Britain. 

I give this Treaty in full. It is an historic 
document. 

''Agreement between the Bbiiish and U.S. 

GOVEENMENTS FOB THE PRODUCTION OF TaNKS 

* * The Government of the United States of America 
and the Government of His Britannic Majesty, bemg 
desirous of co-operating in the use of their respective 
resources for the production of the war maching kno^m 
as Tanks, and having considered the joint recommenda- 
tUm made to them by Lieut.-Colonel A. 6. Stem, C.M.6., 
and Major J. A. Drain, U.S.R., whom they had appointed 
as their Clommissioners to investigate the possibilities 
of such joint production, the undersigned, duly author- 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 199 

ised to that effect by their respective Govemments, 
have agreed upon the following articles : — 

^^ The above-mentioned Commissioners are authorised 
by the respective Governments— 

** (1) To build a factory in France, the cost of 
which and the running thereof is to be defrayed 
in equal parts by the contracting Governments. The 
factory should be of sufficient capacity to produce 
800 comjdeted Tanks per month and capable ci 
being extended to produce at least 1200 Tanks per 
month. The materials required for the constructum 
of the factory shall be obtained in France and in Eng- 
land. The unskilled labour for the erection of the 
factory shall be supplied by the British Government. 
SkiUed labour shall be supplied by the British or by 
the United States Government as the Commissioners 
may arrange. 

^* (2) To arrange for the production of, and to 
produce, 1600 Tanks during the year 1918, or as 
many more as may be required and authorised by the 
respective Governments, and to arrange for the pro- 
vision of the components for these Tanks in the United 
States and Great Britain substantially as follows : — 

^* Li the United States : engines complete^ with 
starter and clutch, radiator, fan and piping, silencer, 
electric lighting, dynamo and battery, propeller shaft, 
oomidete transmission, including main gear-box, brakes, 
roller sprockets, gear shifting and brake control, track 
links and pins, rear track sprockets, hub and shafts, 
front idler hub and shafts, track roller, track spindles 
and bushings. 

'" In Great Britain : bullet and bomb-proof plates, 
structural members, track shoes and rollers, guns, 
machine-guns and mountings, ammunition racks and 
ammuniticm. 

** (8) The respective Governments undertake to give 



200 TANKS 

the necessary priority in respect at material, labonr^ 
shipping, and other requirements to enable the pro- 
gnunme to be carried 6ut in the most eaqieditious 
manner. 

^* (4) It is miderstood that the Tanks produced by 
the factory are to be allocated between the United 
States, France and Great Britain according to a deter- 
mination to be reached later between the Govemmoits 
of the three countries, {n^yided that the first 000 
Tanks produced shall be allocated to the United States 
GoYcmment, and praoided Jurther that the latter and the 
British Government shall each take one-half of the 
total number of Tanks produced not sold to the French 
Govemm^it, unless unequal allocation between them 
shall be subsequently agr^d upon. 

^ ^ (5) The price which shall be charged to the Frendi, 
British and United States Governments, should there 
be an unequal allocation between the two lattar, shall 
be £5000 sterling per Tank, which price shall be 
subject to adjustment at the dose of the operations 
occurring under this Agreement, and the liquidaticm 
dt all assets upon a basis of actual cost, such actual cost 
to include no charge for overhead by either Government. 
^* (6) The capital necessary to carry out this pro- 
gramme shall be supplied in equal parts by the British 
and United States Governments. Expenditure in Franoe 
for labour and materials in connection with the building 
and running of the factory shall in the first instance 
be paid by the British Government. Materials pur- 
chased in Great Britain shall be paid for by the British 
Government, and those purchased in the United States 
of America shall be paid for by the United States 
Government. 

*' An adjustment of the account shall be made every 
six months. 
'' (7) It is further agreed that the United States 



iilS 



-i , 



ii ■ 






Is 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TREATY 201 

Government shall replace the steel provided by the 
British Government for armour-plate. The replacement 
idiall be in the form of ship plates and shall be made on 
or about the date of delivery of armour-plate to the 
factory, on the basis of ton per ton, the necessary allow- 
ance for difference in value to be made in the adjustment 
of the accounts. 

** In witness whebeof the Undersigned have signed 
the present Agreement and have afiBxed thereto their 
seals. 

**DoNE in London in duplicate the 22nd day of 
January, 1919. 

^* (L.S.) Walter Hines Page. 

** (L.S.) Arthur James Balfour.** 



CHAPTER X 

THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 



CHAPTER X 

TH£ TANKS GET THEIB WAY 

Jamiaty 1918 to Nooember 1918 

I HAD succeeded now in increasing the prob- 
able supply of Tanks from the very small number 
of 1850 ordered by the War Office by another 
1500, but I was far from satisfied that we were 
making the progress that was necessary. I felt 
that if the Crermans started making Tanks they 
would probably overiiaul us rapidly. 

At this time I received the following letter. 
It showed what the men at the Front thought 
of the Tanks: — 

** I will first give you the opinion of one of my Colonds. 
In three years fighting on this front, Tve met no Bat- 
talion commander to equal him in power of leaderships 
rapidity of decision in an emergency, and personal 
magnetism. Tve met no man who would judge so 
justly what an infantry soldiar can and cannot do. 

** He considers the Tank invaluable if properly handled, 
either for the attack or in defence ; but he realises, as 
I think we all do, that untfl Cambrai, the tactical 
knowledge shown in its employment was of the meanest 
order. 

** One other valuable opinion Tve obtained. We 
have now with the Battalion a subaltern^ a man of 



206 TANKS 

about thirty — a very good soldier ; a resolute, determined 
kind of fellow — who has seen a good deal of hard fight- 
ing. He commanded a platoon in our 11th Battalion 
in the big Tank attack at Cambrai, and was in the fiist 
wave of the attack throughout. He tells me the Tanks 
covering the advance of his Battalion functioned under 
ideal weather and ground conditions, were handled 
with marked skill and enterprise in the capture of the 
first two objectives, covering an advance of about 
8500 yards. The moral effect of the support given by 
the Tanks on the attacking infantry is very greci* 
He says his men felt the utmost confidence in the Tanks 
and were prepared to follow them anywhere. The 
effect of the advancing line of Tanks on the enemy 
infantry was extraordioary. 

'* They made no attempt whatever to hold their 
trenches, and either bolted in mad panic or, abandoning 
their arms, rushed forward with hands uplifted to 
surrender. As long as the advance of the Tanks con- 
tinued — t. e. over the enemy trench system to a depth 
of from two or three miles — the total casualties incuired 
by our 11th Battalion (attacking in the fijrst wave) were 
four killed and five wounded, all by shell-fire. 

^* After the fall of the second objective, the advance 
ceased for some unexplained reason. They were told 
some hitch about Flesqui^res. The attack seemed to 
lose purpose and direction. Tanks on the flanks began 
coming back. The Battalion was ordered to attack 
five different objectives, and before the necessary plans 
could be communicated to subordinate commanders, 
orders were received cancelling the previous instructions. 
In a word, chaos prevailed. The afore-mentioned subal- 
tern cannot speak too highly of the work of the Tank 
commanders — nothing could exceed their daring and 
enterprise. He says he is absolutely convinced that 
infantry, unsupported by artillery, are absolutely power* 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 207 

less against Tanksy and that no belt of wire can be built 
through which they cannot break an admirable passage 
for infantry. 

** Lastly, he makes no secret of the fact that it would 
demand the utmost exercise of his determination and 
resolution to stand fast and hold his ground in the face 
of an attack by enemy Tanks, carried out on the same 
scale as ours. I may add that he is a big, upstanding 
fellow, a fine athlete, and afroid of nothing oa two 
legs. 

** I give you his opinions at some length, because 
they are the ipsissima verba of a man qualified to 
speak from personal practical experience. Personally, 
I believe the Tanks may yet play the biggest r6le in the 
war, if only the Higher Command does not damn them 
first by giving them the impossible to do, or, worse still, 
fail to employ them in situations where common-sense 
and past experience alike demand their use. 

** (Two days before the Hun attacked us at Bourlon 
Wood we lost three oflBcers and some seventy gidlant 
fellows trying to mop up a couple of enemy machine- 
gun nests— a bit of work a couple of Tanks could have 
done with certainty without the loss of a man.) 

** In the situation described after the captiure of the 
second objective, why should there not have been a 
responsible Staff OflBcer — G.S.0.1. say — right forward 
in a Tank to size up the situation and seize opportunity, 
the very essence of which is rapid decision? In the 
early days of the war, forgetful of the lessons of South 
Africa, we put our senior oflBcere in the forefront of 
the battle. Of late the pendulum has swung the other 
way. Surely the employment of a Tank for the purpose 
outlined would enable us now to strike the happy mean. 

** In defence, as a mobile * Pill Box ' the possibilities 
of the Tank are great^-any man who has led infantry 
* over the top { knows the demoralising and disotfaa* 



208 TANKS 

ising effect of the ' surprise packet * machine-gun 
nest. What more admirable type of nest can be devised ? 
Continually changing position , hidden from enemy air- 
craft by smoke and dust of battle, offering no target 
for aimed artillery fire. 

* ^ Half the casualties we suffer in heavy fighting after 
the initial attack come from the carrying parties wind- 
ing slowly in and out through barrage fire, bringing up 
ammunition to the infantry, the Lewis and Vickers 
guns; all this could be done much more rapidly, 
surely, and with a minimum of loss, by Tanks. For the 
future the Tanks should relieve the artillery of all 
responsibility as regards wire-cutting. You JEmmmv you 
can cross a belt of ¥rire over which a Tank has passed — 
you hope you can pass through a wire belt cm which 
the artillery has played for a couple of days. As a 
business proposition, a Tank at £5000 will cut more 
wire in one journey, even assmning it does nothing else, 
than 2000 shells at £5 each, blazing away for a day — 
add the wear on the life of the gun. 

** In attack, one of the most difficult problems of the 
infantry is to get the Stokes guns far enough f cnrward, 
with sufficient ammunition, to come into action against 
machine-guns or strong points holding up the advance 
unexpectedly. All this could be done by means of a 
Tank with ease, whilst not only the small Stokes gun, 
with a range of 500-600 yards, can be brought forward, 
but I know of no reason why the * 6-inch * Stokes, with 
a range of 1200-1600 yards, should not be brought 
forward by the same means, and be brought into action 
firing from the Tank. 

^* The Tank has only one enemy to fear — the high- 
velocity Tank-gun firing aimed shots from forward 
positions. I believe this danger can be minimised by 
means of escort aeroplanes attached during an aetioQ 
to every Tank, and provided witib smoke bombs to 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 209 

Uind the gun position, if unable to silence the gun by 
machine-gun fire or by means of ordinary bombs heavily 
charged. 

** I have tried to outline some of the more obvious 
uses for which the Tank is so admimbly suitable. There 
18 a well of this information yet untapped, not in Staff 
Offices, but in the minds of the platoon and the company 
commanders who have fought in the first waves of the 
attack with the Tank, who have seen the difficulties it 
has to overcome and how it has met them or failed, and 
why. 

** Nothing has yet been produced in this war to equal 
the Tank for doing by machinery what has hitherto been 
done by men. Nothing so well fitted to economise our 
man-power and reduce the appalling wastage which has 
hitherto characterised our efforts in attack, with gain 
instead of loss in efficiency. 

** We want thousands of Tanks, both light and heavy, 
ranging from two miles to eight mOes per hour, armed 
with machine-guns, armed with Stokes guns, unarmed 
and fast travelling for transport of gun teams to emer- 
gency tactical positions, and, lastly, a staff of tmined 
minds to define the tactics of the Tank — ^to refute 
criticisms based on ignorance, to collect, classify and 
investigate all available information and suggestions, 
so that, like an aeroplane, every new * edition ' of the 
Tank is an improvement on the past. 

** I have written at some length, but the subject is 
big and attmctive enough to be my excuse.*' 

On the 8th of January I wrote to the Prime 
Minister as follows : — 

** We are entering the fifth year of the war. 

** I have watched the tactical changes of the armies 

on the Westem Ftont. Tactics, bom of necessity, such 

p 



210 TANKS 

as trench warfare, the antidotes to trench warfare, and, 
again, the change in methods of defence against the 
novel massed artillery attacks* 

** I have watched with great care methods hitherto 
foreign to warfare used by both sides ; these inventions 
failed to gain a decisive victory; they were used by 
both sides before they had been sufficiently developed 
either in efficiency, quantity, tactics or training. 

** I think that one should try to forget the past and 
imagine that our problem is the Western Front for 1918, 
oblivious of the past, except for its military tactical 
lessons. 

** It is dear to me that neither the Allies nor the 
Central Powers ought to be in a position to force a 
decisive battle on this restricted front during 1918. 

** Neither side has an overwhelming superiority in 
moral, men, guns or ammunition. 

*'' Both sides must try to establish a superiority in 
the line, and use that as a lever of advanta^. 

** We should play up to the full, gamble to the full on 
any chance where we lead the enemy. 

** In aircraft we shall have no overwhelming superiority 
in design or scientific achievement. 

*' We have this superiority in Mechanical Warfare. 
We have in our power weapons capable of killing 
unlimited numbers of the enemy, whereas our loss is 
limited. 

*' * A thousand Tanks, with eight men in a Tank and 
six guns, make a raid : the total wastage if all are lost 
is 8000 men. Sir Douglas Haig has estimated that a 
Tank in attack has a value of from 800 men to a Bat- 
talion. Here is an attack of from, say, 250,000 to 
600,000 men carrying its own supplies, with no expendi- 
ture of shells except coimter-battery work, with roads 
and railroads free from the extravagance of a non- 
mechanical battle. There is no limit, comparatively 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 211 

speaking, to the casualties such a force can inflict on 
the enemy. 

^^ I wish to suggest some arguments in favour of 
Mechanical Warfare for 1018 on the Western Front. 

** There should be four Mechanical Annies at different 
points on the line suitable for such warfare, all equipped 
and prepared to attack within a few hours in the form 
of a Tank raid. 

** These raids to be an attack by surprise as at 
Cambrai, but with strict orders that a return should 
be made to our lines, obviating giving the enemy any 
opportunity of kiUing our infantry on equal terms, of 
attacking a salient or getting anything but a grave 
disadvantage in a counter-attack against our original 
positions. 

*^ My views are that in this way we can kill Germans 
and kill their morale cause grove unrest and dissatis- 
faction between the men and their officers, between the 
people and the authorities, at their lack of efficiency 
in not adopting so formidable a weapon, used in over- 
whelming quantities by an enemy originally quite 
unprepared for war. 

** I have painted a very superficial picture of my ideas 
of the effect on the Germans. 

** Take the effect on our troops. 
Think of the infantry appreciating in its own 
delightful language the fact that it is about 100 to 1 
on the Tanks in these nids — reaUy great Tank battles, 
owing to the number of guns and men value of the Tanks 
engaged, and that they can sit tight in their trenches 
awaiting the German counter-attack which must be 
carried out by infantry unprotected by armour against 
mechanical machine-guns. 

** The development of this great chance may strengthen 
the feeling in Germany, imiversal in the worid, for a 
league of naticms, by showing that the military caste 



«« 



212 TANKS 



is being beaten at its own game and losing its in- 
vincibility. 

* ^ If this can be achieved by these means, before we have 
a possibility of overwhelming superiority in 1019, we shall 
have saved oceans of blood and mountains of misery. 

*^ If in your opinion my notions are in agreement with 
the reality of things, I wish to offer my services to study 
with the Allies concerned, and make a detailed plan, as 
far as possible, of such an organisation, com^dete, ready 
tor operation. 

** This could, of course, only be achieved, with proper 
powers and with the complete good will and co-operation 
of the Army and the War Office.** 

I heard later that the Germans were building 
large numbers of Tanks. This drove me to 
make another great effort to get the War Office 
to order more. I conmiunicated again with 
the Prime Minister, who said that if any group 
of Ministers would support it, he would be ready 
to call a War Cabinet meeting in order that I 
could submit my views. 

I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. William 
Brace, and asked him if he would bring the Labour 
Ministers of the Coalition to see the Tanks and 
aUow me to explain to them my views on the 
whole subject. I met Mr. Brace, Mr. George 
Barnes, Mr. Hodge, Mr. G. Roberts, Mr. Wardle, 
Mr. Walsh, Mr. Clynes, and Mr. Parker. After 
seeing the Tanks and hearing what they had 
done— how they had saved thousands of casual- 
ties—they agreed to put forward to Mr. lioyd 
George the suggestion that a War Cabinet meet- 
ing should be held with aU concerned to press for 



S TANKS GET THEIR WAY 218 

the building of Tanks to the full capacity of the 
country, subject to military advice and without 
interfering with the supply of guns and shells or 
with the requirements of tiie Navy and merchant 
shipping. 

On March 8th this War Cabinet meeting was 
held. General Sir Henry Wilson, the new Chief 
of the Imperial General Staff, was present. He 
gave examples of the economy in men which 
had resulted from using the Tanks. At Messines 
twelve divisions had been employed on a front 
of 16,500 yards, and after the first forty-eight 
hours' fighting our casualties amounted to 16,000 
and the depth of our advance was 4000 yards. 
At Cambrai we employed only seven divisions, 
supported by Tanks, on a front of 18,000 yards. 
Our casualties, after two days fighting, only 
amounted to 9500 men, and we gained in depth 
no less than 9000 yards, which meant approxi- 
mately, with an equal force, half the number of 
casualties and double the gain in depth. More- 
over, we saved at Cambrai a matter of 80,000 
tons of ammunition. 

The result of this meeting was that an extended 
Tank programme of nearly 5000 Tanks was 
adopted, and Mr. Churchill was asked to make the 
arrangements for it. 

On April 8th Lord Milner, who up till this time 
had been Cabinet Minister at Versailles, and was 
now appointed Secretary of State for War, came 
to see me at the offices of the Mechanical Warfare 
(Overseas and Allies) Department in Paris. I 



214 TANKS 

explained to him the development of Mechanical 
Warfare, and told him that the Tanks had great 
power of destruction quite out of proportion to 
their own total cost of humanity, which was 
limited to eight men a Tank. I told him that 
at the present time there was no central authority 
for the development of Mechanical Warfare, and 
that I considered it essential, for rapid develop- 
ment nationally, and internationally, that a 
special Department, like the Air Ministry, should 
be formed, and that this Ministry or Board should 
be managed by those who had directed the 
development from the beginning, and were un- 
trammelled by the vested interests of all the 
established branches of the War Office. In this 
way, a highly technical development could be 
carried out by a practical man with the advice of 
the military authorities. 

I explained that I had been removed from my 
position as Director-General of the Mechanical 
Warfare Department on the demand of the War 
Office, because I had fought for the development 
of Mechanical Warfare, and told the War Office 
that their preparations for 1918 were entirely 
inadequate; that the programme had now been 
increased, too late, from 1850 to nearer 5000; 
that I had fought for the^standardisation of 
Mechanical Warfare against continual change of 
design, and that standardisation was at last to 
be brought in by August 1918, again too late. 

I said that we had fought our hardest to pre- 
vent inexperienced officers from ruining the one 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 215 

development in this country in which we had 
outstripped the Germans, but that instead of 
continuing its healthy growth under imaginative 
practical men» it had been placed imder the heel 
of elderly service men, with the usual results; 
that the modem methods of standardisation and 
e£Bciency, untrammelled by Army procedure and 
prejudice, had been stamped out; that the rules 
of the War OflSce made a civilian ineligible ever 
to become a soldier or to know anything about 
warfare, and that the Army Act was waved before 
the eyes of any junior officer who had ideas and 
dared to speak of them. 

Finally, I begged him to see Sir Eustace 
d'Eyncourt, and to discuss the question of some 
proper authority to control and develop Mechani- 
cal Warfare. 

From this date a new era of progress started 
for Mechanical Warfare at the War Office, with 
Sir Henry Wilson as Chief of the Imperial General 
Staff and General Harrington as Deputy Chief. 
General Harrington believed in new methods 
and in Mechanical Warfare. He took the greatest 
trouble to give every assistance. About this time 
I had several interviews with him, and he told 
me that the Tank Corps was now to be brought 
into the Army Organisation, with the tactical 
side under the War Office branches concerned. 
Colonel Fuller was to be appointed to take charge 
of Tanks in the Department of the General Staff. 

I told him that, in my opinion, design, pro- 
duction and tactics were closely interlocked. 



216 TANKS 

Tacticians could not make tactics without know- 
ing quantities and types ; producers and designers 
could not make quantities until at least a year 
after hearing the ideas of the tacticians ; in fact, 
instead of the designs and ideas being thoo^^t 
out and criticised by the military tacticians, the 
tacticians, producers and designers should sit 
together and produce their plans together for 
consideration by the General Staff. General 
Harrington said that everything would be done 
to ensure the success of Mechanical Warfare, but 
that owing to many difficulties in the War Office 
it would take time, and at his request I promised 
that I would cease from forcing the pace until he 
had brought out his new scheme. 

All this time I had been working in perfect 
accord with the French military and muniticm 
authorities. 

On April 24th General Estienne's Chief Staff 
Officer informed me that General P6tain had asked 
me to dine with him at his headquarters. I 
motored to Chantilly, and met him outside his 
villa one hour before dinner. He told me that 
he was a great believer in Mechanical Warfare, 
and asked me, if possible, to get powers from my 
Government to form one central military school 
and training-ground for an Inter-Allied Tank 
Army at Chfiteauroux, with camps for British, 
French and American troops. He and General 
Foch were in complete agreement with the scheme, 
and their view was that Tanks were infantry, 
and were absolutely essential in large numbers. 



rfT 



5 TANKS GET THEIR WAY 217 



He asked me to see General Foch on the f oUowing 
day, but I had unfortunately to return to England 
to keep an important appointment. I very prob- 
ably would have gone to see General Foch at 
once, but it was night-time, and no lights of any 
sort were allowed anywhere near Amiens, which 
at the time was extremely unhealthy. 

On arrival in England the next morning I saw 
Sir Henry Wilson, who said he was going to 
France the next day and would propose the 
matter to Sir Douglas Haig. 

Subsequently, although an Allied Camp for an 
Inter-Allied Army was not built, an Inter-Allied 
School for Tactics was started at Bourron, south 
of Fontainebleau, where Battalions of Tanks of 
the different Allied nations were staticmed for 
tactical instruction by senior officers under the 
presidency of General Estienne, Commander of 
the French Tanks. 

At a meeting at the War Office on June 25th, 
General Capper, who had been Director-General 
of Tanks and head of the Tank Committee, which 
had proved a failuie, resigned; his post was 
abolished, and the question of a new authority 
to govern Mechanical Warfare was fiiUy discussed. 

Early in August, once more there was danger 
of a Tank Board being formed at the War Office, 
consisting of people who had no knowledge of 
Tanks, and Sir Eustace d'Eyncourt, Admiral 
Sir A. G. H. W. Moore, Controller of Mechanical 
Warfare Department, Sir Percival Perry, his 
Deputy and I, put forward to General Sedy (who 



218 TANKS 

had become Deputy Minister of Munitions) a 
scheme for making a new authority to deal with 
Mechanical Warfare. Just as at the War OflBce 
a new era of progress for Mechanical Warfare had 
started with the advent of General Harrington, 
so a new era of progress started at the IMSnisby 
of Mimitions with General Seely. 

Already we were beginning to see the results 
of the policy and the changes which the Army 
Council had forced on Mr. Churchill. Produc- 
tion had declined. It had fallen below the record 
of 200 Tanks a month, which we had achieved in 
1917, although the Department now had much 
greater facilities for manufacture. It was, in 
fact, the one department of munitions of war 
which had not shown a continuous increase in 
output, and was producing only half of what it 
had promised. 

Mr. lioyd George, who, in spite of all his other 
activities and worries, continued his great interest 
in Mechanical Warfare, once again called a con- 
ference of the War Cabinet, as he was anxious 
about Tanks, and wished to be assured that we 
should be able to achieve the increased pro- 
gramme which had been approved on March 9th 
after our meeting of the day before. At this 
conference it was decided to be absolutely neces- 
sary to have a strong board of competent men 
Willi the necessary authority to deal with ques- 
tions both of design and supply. 

The scheme for a Tank Board was put forward 
by Sir E. d'Eyncourt and myself as follows — 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 219 

General Seely, as President, with Sir £• 
d'Eyncourt as Vice-President, Mr. Maclean (who 
had succeeded Admiral Moore as Controller of 
Plroduction at the Mechanical Warfare Depart- 
ment), Colonel Fuller, representing the General 
Staff, General Furse, representing the Army 
Council, and myself, representing Mechanical 
Warfare (Overseas and Allies). General Elles was 
added to the Board, and the scheme was adopted. 
Later on Sir Percival Perry, representing Mechani- 
cal Traction, and Admiral Bacon of the Munitions 
Inventions Department, were also added to the 
Board, and, later still. General Swinton. 

The new Board proved a very great success. 
New ideas were received with enthusiasm; old- 
fashioned obstructions found no sympathy, and 
the progranmie for the year of 5000 English Tanks 
had every chance of being completed. In addi- 
tion, 20,000 light tractors, capable of carrying 
about five tons over any countryf were ordered 
and in construction. These, though unarmoured, 
would make any army, both its men, its munitions, 
and its supplies, very mobile. 

Before this, the Anglo-American Conunission 
had settled to work. An ofiice and a drawing- 
oflSce had been taken immediately in London, and 
an office in Paris. After some difficulty and with 
the help of the French Government, we had 
found a suitable site for our factory, and with it 
space for a training-ground. This was at Neuvy- 
Pailloux, some 200 miles south of Paris, and within 
easy reach of the two Franco-American ports of 



820 TANKS 

St. Nazaiie, and Bordeaux. The vfhclle of the 
material for building it, the equipment and the 
electrical power station were bou^t from Eng- 
land. The work was originally entrusted to the 
British Firm of Messrs. Holland and Hannen, 
Ltd., working under the direction of Sir John 
Hunter, Director of Factory Construction for the 
Ministry of Munitions. In August, however, the 
work was handed over to Messrs. S. Pearson and 
Son, who completed the construction in Novem- 
ber under the direction of Mr. F. J. Hopkinson. 
Here, Great Britain and the States were to build 
between them the 1500 super-Tanks, each weighing 
forty tons. The whole of the armour, guns and 
madiine-guns for these liberty Tanks came from 
Great Britain, and the engines and internal parts 
from the States* 

The first Liberty Tank, however, was put to- 
gether not in France, but in America. Major 
Holden, who had been my second-in-command, 
went to America to help in the new development 
of Tanks there, and in July a huU, made in 
England, was sent over in order that the engines 
and gears which the Americans were to supply 
might be tested in it. This, the first super-Tank, 
was completed by Captain L. R. Buckendale, of 
the United States Army, and lieut. R. A. 
Robertson, R.N.V.R., who during 1916 and 
1917 had superintended the whole of the inspec- 
tion of the manufacture of Tanks in England. 

A great many experts had doubted if it were 
possible to use the Liberty Low Compression 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 221 

Fljring Engine in a Tank, but it came through 
the very searching trials with complete success. 
I had the following letter from Mr. Stettinius, the 
U.S.A. Deputy Minister for War : — 



^* Wat DepoHmtdUf 

" VnUeA SkUes cf America, 
**Pana, 

" ^OMvnfter 29lA» 1918. 



'* Edw. R. Stettinius, 

to 

** LlEUT.-COLONEL SiB A. G. STERN, 

'' 2, Rue Edouard VU. 
" Paris. 



^* My dear Colonel Stern, 

*^ I have received the following cablegram from 
Washington, which I believe will be of interest to you : — 

•••Cable Number 72, 

** •Par. 1. With reference to your 584 par. 4 supfde- 
menting our 49 par. 2. Mark VIII. field-tests in pro- 
gress. So far no structural defects* Machine makes 
six miles per hour on high and has ample power for 
climbing. Has n^^tiated thirteen-foot trenches with 
its parapet repeatedly. Leverage of track brake foot- 
pedal had to be doubled to produce satisfactory steer 
ing. Original leverage would not lock one track under 
all conditions. No engine trouble experienced in actual 
Tank tests. Reduction of width of reverse clutch slots 
and placing mufBers on top have been found necessary, 
as you suggested. Notify Stem, London, England. 

GOETHALS.' 

•* Tours very sincerely, 
** £dw. R. Stettiniub, 

** Special Representative." 



222 TANKS 



the 1500 Tanks which she was building 
jointly with us in France, and which were to be 
distributed among the Allies according to the 
decision of the Versailles Council, America decided 
to build another 1500 at home, as well as many 
thousands of Renault Tanks. She found, how- 
ever, greater di£Sculty than she had expected in 
making the armour-plate and guns, so it was 
arranged that the second 1500 should also be 
assembled at our French factory on the same 
terms as the first, England supplying the armour- 
plate and gims, America the engines. 

I believe that the joint working of the Americans 
and English in this way is imique in the history 
of the world. Many people had protested that 
we should never succeed in doing it amicably and 
successfully. All their fears were proved wrong. 
American and English officers and civilians! 
men and women, worked together in perfect 
accord. I know of no single instance of discord 
among us, and I know that the whole of my staff 
had never throughout the war foimd a finer 
esprit de carps than inspired this enterprise of the 
Anglo-American Tank Commission. 

We were helped by the French Government in 
very many ways. It provided the greater part 
of the imskilled labour for building the factory, 
consisting of labour battalions of Annamites 
from Cochin China, 

I will quote a letter from the French Ministry of 
War giving their views of the enterprise at Neuvy- 
Pailloux. It was written after the Armistice 
had been signed. 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 228 



cc 

it 



Miniaiire de la Ouerref 
** Direeidon de VAHiUerie 8oub DireeHcn 
de rArUOerie SAaaavi, 

" Paria, le 18 Novambre, 1918. 

*^ Le Pbesident du Conseil, 
** Ministire de la Guerre, 
to 
** Akolo-Amebican Commission, 
'' 2, Rue Edouard Vn, 
*• Paris. 

** Contacmmg our telephonic message, we beg to state 
that the French armies will not need now any Liberty 
Tanks. We wish, however, to receive two or three of 
these Tanks fitted exactly as they would have been at 
the Neuvy-Pailloux Works. These would be used for 
experimental purposes. 

^^ We avail ourselves of this opportunity to declare 
emphaticaUy that we have highly appreciated the efforts 
made by your Commission in originating and pursuing 
the completion of a very extensive work, which would 
have greatly helped France in its struggle. 

•* Very truly yours, 

** AUBEBTIN, 

** Lieutenant-Colonel." 

It will give some idea of the importance 
of the factory at Neuvy-Pailloux, when I say 
that the output of Liberty Tanks (with a H.P. 
more than twice as great as the H.P. in any 
British Tank up to that time) would have been 
as large, if not larger, in the first months of 
1919, as the output of the factories in the whole 
of Ekigland. Mechanical Warfare and Mechanical 
Transport were now being developed on such a 



224 TANKS 

scale that beyond doubt they would have proved 
decisive had the war continued into 1919, but 
before they could be used on a great scale the 
war was over, and the Liberty Tanks never went 
into action. 

While we were preparing and building for 1919 
through the summer and autumn of 1918, the 
Tanks, in spite of the blunders which had limited 
and delayed the construction for that year, were 
playing a great part in the battles from Amiens 
to Mons. 

In June and July, before the great offensive 
began, the Tanks fought three actions. They 
were all three small affairs, but each was note- 
worthy. It had been imfortimate for the Tanks 
that the great success of the first day's attack at 
Cambrai in November 1917, brilliant in its actual 
achievement and still more brilliant in its promise 
of what Tanks could do, had been largely ob- 
scured by the unexpected and disheartening 
success of the German coimter-attack. The three 
actions of June and July, small as they were, 
served to hearten those, and there were some, 
who had begun to wonder if there was indeed a 
future for the Tank. 

The first of these actions was a raid near 
Bucquoy, on June 22nd. It was carried out by 
five platoons of infantry and five female Tanks, 
and was the first occasion on which Tanks had 
attacked by night. It showed not only that they 
could manoeuvre by night, but that darkness was a 
great protection to them. The infantry was held 



S^rOKK UUMH KXI'KRIMKNTS (/■ ?J5) 



SMOKE HUMH EX 



Tanks Roing forward lu cross tlie Hindenburg Line, (p. 237) 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 225 

up by a heavy barrage from trench mortars and 
machine-guns. Though remforced, it could not 
advance, and the Tanks went on and carried out 
the attack alone. One Tank was attacked by a 
party of Germans, and its crew shot them down 
with revolvers. Li spite of the heavy trench 
mortar fire not a Tank was damaged, and aU 
returned. 

On July 4th sixty Tanks went into action 
with the 4th Australian Division against the 
Hamel spur, which runs from the plateau of 
Villers-Bretonneux to the Somme. It was an 
attack on a front of just over three miles, and 
was to be carried to a depth of a mile and a half. 
Not only were all the objectives reached, but 
each was reached by the time fixed in the plan 
of attack. The number of prisoners taken, 
1500, was more than double the total casualties 
of the Australians, while only five of the Tanks 
were hit, and the casualties of their crews were 
only sixteen wounded. 

The co-operation between Tanks and infantry 
came as near perfection as could be, and the 
Australians were finaUy convinced of the advan- 
tage of working with Tanks. The full value of 
that conviction appeared in the greater battles 
that were to come. 

In this attack Mark V. Tanks went into action 
for the first time, and more than justified aO 
expectations of them« They all reached the 
starting-point in time. That, in itself^ was an 
achievement. It showed the mechanical superior* 

Q 



226 TANKS 

ity of the Mark V.8 over the earlier types. Thdr 
greater sureness and speed in manoeuvre were 
shown by the large number of German machine- 
guns that were crushed. Once a Tank had 
passed over a machine-gun crew there was no 
fear that it would come to life again behind the 
attacking infantry. 

Since the action was on a smaU scale, there 
had been no need to have an extended system of 
supply dumps. Each Fighting Tank carried with 
it anmaiunition and water for the infantry, and 
four Supply Tanks brought up the supplies for 
the engineers. The four brought up a load of 
12,500 lbs. and had delivered it within 500 yards 
of the final objective within half an hour of its 
capture. Four Tanks and the twenty-four men 
in them had done the work of a carrying party 
of 1250 men. 

The same month for the first time British 
Tanks went into action with French infantry. 
This was near Moreuil, some miles north of 
Montdidier. 

Three French Divisions attacked on a front of 
two miles. The Tanks engaged were the 9th 
Battalion of the 8rd Brigade, seventy-five Tanks 
in all, and they worked with the 9rd Division. 
After the battle they were inspected by General 
Debeney, commandhig the First French Army, 
were thanked by him for the fine way in which 
they had fought, and as a sign of their comrade- 
ship in battle with the ard Division were 
presented with its Divisional badge. From that 



TANKS GET THEIR WAY 227 

day the men of the 9th Battalion have worn it 
on their left arms. 

On July 15th the last big Germaji attack was 
launched against Chfiteau Thierry and fiafled. 
It left the Germans holding a dangerous saUent. 
Three daj^ later Marshal Foch made his great 
counter-attack against the western flank of this 
salient, striking the first of those Allied blows 
which were to continue up and down the whole 
front without intermission, until four months later 
the German Army could fight no more. In this 
first victory the French Renault Tanks played 
a conspicuous part. 

Two days before the German attack was made 
the Ck)mmander of the 4th British Army, which 
was holding the line before Amiens^ was asked 
by GJ9.Q. to submit a plan of attack. On 
August Sth^ the attack was made on a fiiont 
of ten miles. The attacking troops were the 
Canadian and Australian Ck)rps, the 8rd (llorps, 
three Divisions of cavalry and the whole of the 
Tank Corps^ except one Brigade, which was still 
armed with Mark IV. machines, and was training 
its men on the Mark V. 

As at Cambraiy the Tanks led the attack with- 
out any preliminary bombardment, but with an 
artillery barrage and a special noise barrage to 
cover their approach. The battle began at a 
quarter to five, when 480 Tanks out of the 485 
that had been assembled went forward. 

Two of the Brigades of Fighting Tanks were 
armed with Whippets, ninety in all, and worked 



228 TANKS 

with the cavalry, and besides the 480 Fightmg 
Tanks there were numbers of others for supply 
and signalling. 

The attack came on the German infantry as 
a complete surprise. The Tanks appeared above 
it out of the morning mist, and the line, strongly 
held though it was, broke before them at once. 
It was noticed that the German machine- 
gunners, who had learnt already, in the smaller 
actions of June and July, that we had a new 
and faster Tank, were much less tenacious 
than in any previous battle. They did not wait 
to be crushed beneath these great machines of 
thirty tons weight each, which came searching 
for them among the standing com. 

By the end of the day the attack had been 
pressed to a distance of over seven miles, but 
when in the evening the Tanks rallied, it was found 
that 100 of them had been temporarily put out 
of action, while the crews of the rest were ex- 
hausted with the long distance covered and the 
August heat. Composite companies were hastily 
arranged, for there were few reserves. 

Next day, when the attack began again, 145 
Tanks went into action. The total hit that day 
was thirty-nine, but in one part of the line, round 
Framerville, it was only one out of thirteen. This 
was because the infantry fought very skilfully to 
protect them. Infantry and Tanks went forward 
together, and the riflemen picked oS the enemy's 
gunners as soon as the Tanks cajxxe imder 
observation of the guns. 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 229 

On the third day sixty-seven Tanks were 
engaged and thirty were hit» and on this day the 
edge of the old Somme battlefield^ pitted with 
shell erateis, was reached. 

On the fourth day there was no general attack, 
but a number of sniaU operations against German 
strong points which still held out. 

Within the next few days it was decided that 
the 8rd Army should take up the attack north of 
the Sonune. The battle of Amiens was at an 
end. In the four daj^ the 4th Army had gone 
forward from six to twelve miles on a front of 
over twelve miles, and it now held almost the 
same line that the French had held on July 1st, 
1016. It had taken 22,000 prisoners and 400 
guns. Of the part played by the Tanks Sir 
Henry RawUnson spoke in a Special Order of 
the Day: ^^The success of the operations of 
August 8th and succeeding days was largely due 
to the conspicuous part played by the 8rd, 4th 
and 5th Brigades, and I desire to place on record 
my sincere appreciation of the invaluable services 
rendered both by the Mark V. and the Mark V. 
Star and the Whippets . . . and of the splendid 
success that they achieved.*' 

The battle had taught the Tank Ck)rps some 
new lessons and confirmed the old. It had 
proved it to be a mistake to attach tl)e Whippets 
to the Cavalry. Li the approach marches they 
could not keep pace with it, in the actual fij^ting 
they were kept back by it. By noon on the first 
day there was great confusion behind the enemy 



280 TANKS 

lines. The Whippets should then have been 
five or even ten miles ahead of the infantry, 
spreading the confusion and frustrating all 
attempts to restore order. As it was, they were 
kept far behind them by their orders to support 
the cavalry, for the cavalry, unable to take cover 
like the infantry, was compelled to retire to a 
flank or to the rear before machine-gun fire. The 
Whippets did some hard and gallant fighting, 
but co-operation between Tanks and cavalry was 
proved to be to the help of neither. 

Another important lesson was that while the 
Tanks were the great aid and protection of 
infantry against machine-guns, they themselves^ 
fighting as they now were, not across fortified 
positions, but over open country, needed the 
protection of the infantry against artillery fire. 

These wetk valuable lessons, but the two 
crjring needs were for still faster Tanks, Tanks 
that could have outstripped a retreating enemy 
and cut him off, and for a Tank reserve. That 
lesson, which had been taught us first at Arras 
and then at Cambrai, but which the War Office 
had refused to learn, was repeated. The endui^ 
ance of a Heavy Tank in action was three days. 
Without a general reserve, the real force of tiie 
Tanks' blow was spent on the first day. They 
went on afterwards with tired crews, in battalicms 
hurriedly re-arranged and in much diminished 
numbers. Altogether in those fbur days of fight- 
ing 888 Tanks went into action; 480 had to be 
handed over to salvage, and of the remaining 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 281 

2889 very few were fit for anything but a short 
attack, and all required a thorough overhaul. 
There was Uttle time for it. The battle north 
of the Somme was to begin on August 21st. 
The enemy showed signs that he was preparing 
to retire between Arras and the Somme. He 
was to be attacked before he could do it. 

The first attack started between Moyenville 
and Beaucourt-sur-Ancre. Once more it took 
the enemy by surprise. The Tanks, when they 
crossed Ids first trenches, found candles still 
burning in them and a great litter of papers 
and equipment that he had thrown away. More- 
over, he had adopted a new system of defence. 
His first line was very lightly held and his guns 
were withdrawn. The result was that few were 
overwhelmed and captured in the first surprise 
of the attack, and that in the second and third 
stages the Tanks came under very heavy fire. 
To meet this new defence the older Tanks were 
used against the first and second objectives. 
Then the new Mark V.s took up the attack, and 
then the Whippets. By the time the second 
objective was reached the mist that had hidden 
the first stages of the attack b^an to lift. Each 
Tank went forward, the centre of a zone of 
bullets and bursting shells. The fire was con- 
centrated on them, and the infemtry, in conse- 
quence, had few casualties. 

Next day the 4th Army took up the attack 
as far southwards as the Somme. On August 
28rd it spread south of the Somme. On August 



282 TANKS 

26th northwards to Arras. The 1st, 8rd and 
4th Annies were now attacking on a front of 
thirty miles, from Arras to Chatdnes. This 
battle was fought right across the battlefields 
of 1916 and 1917. It lasted a fortnight. It 
took from the Germans in captures alone 58,000 
prisoners and 470 guns, and it culminated, on 
September 2nd, in the breaking of the famous 
Drocourt-Queant line, which in April 1917 we 
had failed to^ reach. It was an immensely 
strong line protected by great belts of wire. It 
fell to the Tanks in a day. Except for heavy 
anti-Tank rifle fire they met with little opposi- 
tion — ^with far less, indeed, than had been ex- 
pected, but one company of Tanks alone destroyed 
over seventy German machine-guns. The gunners 
siurrendered as the Tanks approached. 

During the fortnight, except for one or two 
minor failures, every attack had succeeded, and 
succeeded, too, with casualties to the infantry 
on a much smaller scale than in previous attacks. 
The Tank Corps had moved up to the battles of 
Bapaume and Arras straight from the battlefield 
of Amiens. They had had scarcely any time for 
repairs, for rehearsal with the infantry or for 
reconnaissance. They had been through a fort- 
night of almost continuous fighting. 

On September 4th all Tank Brigades were with- 
drawn to G.H.Q. reserve to refit and reorganise. 

Tanks were again in the line twelve days later 
and took part in the battle of Epehy. They 
fought that day under a heavy gas barrage. 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 288 

which forced their crews to wear their gas helmets 
for more than two hours on end. Then, on 
September 27th» began the third of the great 
battles, the battle for the Hindenburg defences, 
for that zone of entrenchments five to ten miles 
deep, heavily wired and drawing added strength, 
in front of Cambrai hoia the Cansd du Nord, 
and between Cambrai and St. Quentm from the 
Canal St. Quentm. It was fought by the 1st, 
8rd and 4th Armies over a front of thirty miles, 
from the Sensee River to St. Quentin, and it 
lasted fifteen days. 

The battle was begun on September 27th by 
the 1st and 8rd Armies with an attack towards 
Bourlon HiU in front of Cambrai. Fifty-three 
Tanks fought that day, some of them over 
nearly the same ground where they had fought 
in November 1917. The Cansd du Nord was the 
chief obstacle before them, and between Marquion 
and Bourlon the Germans had so far trusted in 
it as to prepare no specisd anti-Tank defence. 
It was a great dry channel (for when the war 
came it was still unfinished), fifty feet broad at 
the bottom and twelve feet deep. Its banks 
were steep, but to make doubly sure the Germans, 
in places, had cut the bank into a vertical wall 
nine feet high. Yet aU along the line the Tanks 
crossed the canal, even cUmbing the nine foot 
wall. Bourlon HiU was captured, and next day 
the infantry were on the outskirts of Cambrai. 

On September 29th the attack was taken up 
by the 4th Army further south. The American 



284 TANKS 

Corps fou^t in the centre with the Australian 
Corps. A British Corps was on either wing. 
The infantry were supported by 175 Tanks. It 
was an attack on a large scale, carefully planned, 
its object being to cross the Canal St. Quentin 
and force the ^^ Hindoiburg " defences. In the 
northern half the plan miscarried. It miscarried 
because a preliminary attack the day before had 
only half succeeded. What should have been 
the British front line on the morning of the big 
attack was still in German hands. There was 
delay. The artillery barrage got far ahead of 
the infantry, and the Americans who led the 
attack suffered very heavy losses. The attack 
failed. Disaster also came on the 801st American 
Tank Battalion, which was working with an 
American Division. It ran into an old British 
minefield of rows of buried trench mortar bombs. 
Ten machines were blown up ; the whole bottom 
of several of them was torn away, and only two 
were able to support the infantry. 

Further south the Tanks of the 4th and 5th 
Brigades broke into the Hindenburg line; then 
the morning mists began to lift and it was found 
that, as a result of the failure to the north, the 
flank and rear of the attack were exposed. The 
later objectives had to be abandoned, but several 
Tanks went into action on their own initiative 
without artillery or infantry support, and though 
they suffered heavily themselves, saved the 
infantry many casualties. 

On the southern wing, though the attack was 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 285 

made in a dense fog, it was a complete success 
and the Canal was crossed. 

Next day. Tanks were in action with the 1st 
Army north of Cambrai, where they used smoke 
clouds very successfully to hide themselves from 
the German gunners ; and on October 1st, on the 
8rd and on the 5th, they were again attacking 
with the 4th Army. 

The second phase of the battle of Cambrai 
and St. Quentin began on October 8th, when the 
8rd and 4th Armies attacked together on a front 
of eighteen miles between the two towns. Eighty- 
two Tanks went into acticm that day, and at one 
place there was a duel between Tanks. The 
Germans had captured from us one male and 
three female. With these they counter-attacked. 
The male was put out of action at once by a 
6-pounder shell fired from another Tank, and 
one of the females by a shell from a captured 
G^man field gun fired by a Tank Section Com- 
mander. The other two females turned and 
fled when one of their own sex advanced to 
attack them. This was the second battle between 
Tank and Tank. The first had been fought in 
April with equal success. 

Next day the attack was taken up again along 
the whole front of thirty miles; Cambrai was 
occupied, and by that evening, October 9th, the 
battle was over. The whole of the Hindenburg 
defences had been captured, and the attempt 
to hold them had cost the Germans, in captures 
alone, 600 guns and 50,000 men. 



286 TANKS 

It was not only in Cambresis that the German 
trench system was broken. The same thing had 
been done in Flanders by the combined French, 
Belgian and British forces at the battles of 
Ypres and Courtrai, and now along the whole 
length of their Une the British Armies followed 
their retreating enemy over open, unfortified 
comitry. But the German Army, though it 
had lost its trench system, was not yet broken. 
Its rearguards were armed with thousands of 
machine-guns, and they made impossible the 
rapid pursuit by cavalry which would have turned 
retreat to rout. Only the Tanks could have 
done that; two Brigades of them might have 
done it; but now after three months' continuous 
fighting very few remained, and the Corps itsdf 
had lost a third of its personnel. 

The steady attack, the methodical pursuit 
continued, and a week later, on October 17th, 
one Brigade of Tanks went into action with the 
4th Army in a combined British and French 
attack, south of Le Cateau. The numeroiis 
waterways of this flat country were now the 
chief defence of the Germans. At this part of 
the line they were protected by the river SeUe, 
which lay between the two armies. To guide 
the attacking Tanks, tape was laid across the 
river at night time, and it was then discovered 
that the Germans had dammed the stream in 
places to increase the difficulties. 

The morning of the 17th came with such a 
heavy fog that the Tanks moved up to the 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 287 

attack by compass bearings. Each Tank of the 
twttity-eight carried a " Crib," ^ and with the 
help of these the river was crossed. 

The enemy made little resistance. Tliey had 
trusted to the streams. Three days later Tanks 
again crossed the Selle in an attack north of 
Le Cateau. This time the engineers built a bridge 
for them. It was built at night and was just 
beneath the surface of the water, so that it was 
invisible to the enemy by day. By this under- 
water bridge aU the Tanks safely crossed. 

Two days later thirty-seven Tanks took part 
in a moonlight attack. It was successftiUy 
carried through in spite of mist and heavy 
gas shelling, and the infantry found the Tanks 
as useful in making a way for them through the 
hedges of the unfortified country as through the 
wire belts of the trench zones. 

On November 4th, French and British together 
attacked on a thirty-mile front from Valenciennes 
to the river Oise, and thirty-seven Tanks worked 
with the British infantry. That day two Supply 
Tanks also joined in the battle near Landrecies. 
They were carrying forward bridging materials, 
when they found the infantry, still on the western 
bank of the cansd and unable to advance because 
of the German maclune-guns. Supply Tanks 
are not meant for fighting, but these two went 

^ This oonsisted of a strong hexagonal-shaped firamework 
of timber braced with st^ members. It was 5 feet 
across and 10 feet long, and was used in the same way as 
the ** Fascine/' but its weight was only 18 cwt., as compared 
with the 80 cwt of the '' Fascine.'' 



288 TANKS 

at once into action, and the infantry followed 
tliem as if they were Fighting Tanks. Tbe 
machine-gunners surrendered. The canal was 
crossed. 

The next day eight Whippets supported the 
8rd Guards Brigade in a successful attack across 
a difficult country of fences and ditches north 
of the Forest of Mormal. This was the last 
action that the Tanks fought. The Corps was 
now so reduced that companies had taken the 
place of battalions and sections the place of 
companies. 

Six days later, when hostilities ceased, the Corps 
was busy trying to reorganise a fighting force 
out of its diminished and weary battalions. 

Since the 480 Tanks began the battle of Amiens 
on August 8th, there had been ninety-six days 
of almost continuous fighting. On thirty-nine 
days out of the ninety-six the Tank Corps had 
been engaged, and 1998 Tanks and Tank Armoured 
Cars had gone into action. Eight hundred and 
eighty-seven had been handed over to salvage, 
but only fifteen of these had been struck off 
the strength as altogether beyond repair, while 
214 had been repaired and returned to their 
battalions. 

The casualties, compared with the strength of 
the Corps, had been heavy. Five hundred and 
ninety-two officers were killed, wounded, prisoners 
or missing out of a total of 1500, and 2562 other 
ranks out of a total of 8000. Yet by the standaid 
of the casualties of the infantry in those battles 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 289 

which they fought unsupported by Tanks, these 
losses were small indeed. The whole Corps was 
less than the strength of an infantry division, 
and in those thirty-nine days of fighting, in 
which victorious armies had been completely 
broken, it had lost less than many infantry 
divisions, during the battle of the Somme, had 
lost in a single day. 

It is not possible to compare those figures 
with the losses that the infantry would have 
sustained had they had to do the work of the 
Tanks, for the Tanks continually did what it 
was beyond the power of flesh and blood to do. 
One can only say that if the infantry had been 
able to do it at all they would have paid a price 
in lives many hundred times as great. 

What did the Germans think of the Tanks? 
It is credibly reported that when Hindenburg 
visited the German Tank centre near Charleroi 
in February 1918 he said, *^ I do not think that 
Tanks are any use, but as these have been made 
they may as well be tried." That he said this 
was certainly believed in the German Tank Corps, 
which was not much encouraged thereby, and if 
he said it he only repeated what Lord Kitchener 
had said of our Tanks three years before when 
he first saw them at Hatfield. 

Other German Generals believed in them if 
Hindenburg did not, and the Commander of 
the 17th German Army said of them: *^Our 
own Tanks strengthen the moral of the infantry 
to a tremendous extent even if used only in 



240 TANKS 

small numbers, and experience has shown that 
they have a considerable moral effect on hostile 
infantry." 

The great Allied attack had only just begun 
when the German Government showed that it 
recognised the growing danger of the new weapon. 
Speaking in the Reichstag for the Minister of 
War, at the time of the battle of Amiens, General 
von Wrisberg said, " The American Armies need 
not terrify us. We shall settle with them. More 
momentous for us is the question of Tanks." 
Then jiist before the end this message from 
The Prussian Minister of War was sent out : 
"The superiority of the enemy at present is 
principally due to their use of Tanks. We have 
been actively engaged for a long time in work- 
ing at producing this weapon (which is recog- 
nised as important) in adequate numbers. We 
shall then have an additional means for the 
continuance of the war if we are compelled to 
continue it." 

So one of the last efforts to hearten the German 
people was a promise of Tanks. 

But it is not with any reluctant tribute from a 
German that I wish to end this story of how we 
built the Tanks. I have already quoted the 
British Commander-in-Chiefs first words on 
them : " Wherever the Tanks advanced we took 
our objectives, and where they did not advance 
we failed to take our objectives." His last 
words, in his dispatch of December 21st, 1918, 
axe these:— 



THE TANKS GET THEIR WAY 241 

** Since the opening of our offensive on 8th August, 
Tanks have been employed in every battle, and the 
importance of the part played by them in breaking 
the resistance of the German infantry can scarcely be 
exaggerated. The whole scheme of the attack of the 
8th of August was dependent upon Tanks, and ever 
since that date on numberless occasions the success of 
our infantry has been powerfuUy assisted or confirmed 
by their timely arrival. So great has beoi the effect 
produced upon the German infantry by the appearance 
of British Tanks that in more than one instance, when 
for various reasons real Tanks were not available in 
sufficient numbers, valuable results have been obtained 
by the use of dummy Tanks painted on frames of wood 
and canvas. 

*' It is no disparagement of the courage of our infantry 
or of the skill and devotion of our artillery to say that 
the achievements of those essential arms would have 
fallen short of the full measure of success achieved by 
our Armies had it not been for the very gallant and 
devoted work of the Tank Corps, under the command 
of Major-General H. J. EUes.*' 

What we had claimed that the Tanks could 
do they had done. 



CHAPTER XI 

IN CONCLUSION 



CHAPTER XI 

IN CONCLUSION 
<' LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN " 

One of the results of the secrecy which had 
to be maintained about Mechanical Warfare is 
that the public knows nothing of those men whose 
genius designed Tanks, whose enthusiasm and 
energy compelled a doubting and reluctant War 
OflBce to use them, and whose skill in the field 
made them a terrifying weapon. 

The following are the men whom Great Britain 
has to thank for its Tanks, and for the honour 
of haying given to the Allied cause the greatest 
invention of the war : — 

Mr. Winston Churchill, who first encoiuaged 
in a definite way the new idea of Mechanical 
Warfare by appointing a Committee of the 
Admiralty to study it and by authorising the 
funds for the Admiralty to develc^) it. 

Mr. Uoyd George, who protected the idea from 
destruction by the forces of doubt and reaction 
on many occasions. 

Mr. Edwin S. Montagu, who succeeded Mr. 
lioyd George as Minister of Munitions and 
worked for Mechanical Warfare in the same 
spirit of enthusiasm. 

M6 



• 



246 TANKS 

The Admiralty, which encouraged the whole 
development. Without its support and help 
Tanks would never have been produced. 

Sir Eustace d'Eynoourt, who was the real 
father of the Tanks and nursed the development 
from the beginning to the end. He on all occa- 
sions gave his great technical knowledge and 
experience and the weight of his personal influence 
without fear and without stint. 

Major W. 6. Wilson and Sir William Tritt6n, 
who brought all their experience, energy, mechani- 
cal knowledge and inventive genius to the work- 
ing out of the mechanical details of the Tanks. 

Major N. E. Holden, who was my loyal and 
re^sponsible deputy and really did all my work 
for three years. 

Sir Sigmund Dannreuther, Director of Finance, 
who in his important position gave Mechanical 
Warfare invaluable help. His great intelligence 
and broad-minded views helped the developmoit 
from the beginning. Numerous difficult problems, 
both in the Mechanical Warfare Department 
and Anglo-American Commission, were submitted 
to him and always solved. 

Major K. P. Symes, who showed untiring 
energy and skill in the development and pro- 
duction of light armour-plate without which the 
Tanks would have proved of little value, and 
superintended, with Lieut. W. E. Rendle, the 
whole production of Tanks. 

Major-General E. D. Swiiiton, who gave the 
War Office not one moment's peace until they 



IN CONCLUSION 247 



had adopted this new method of warfare, and 
who raised the first Tank force and commanded 
it in the first Tank battle in September 1916. 

The Royal Tank Corps, whose magnificent 
courage and esprit de corps were second to none 
in any army in the world. 

Major-General H. J. Elles, who succeeded 
General Swinton and led the Corps into action 
at Cambrai, and, with his Chief of Staff, Colonel 
J. F. C. Fuller, was responsible for the tactics, 
efficiency and magnificent esprit de carps of the 
Tank Corps. 

General Scott Moncrieff, who was appointed 
Chairman of the Landship Committee when 
Mr. Churchill left the Admiralty. 

lieut. Percy Anderson, who from the earliest 
days was responsible under me for the whole of 
the organisation of the Mechanical Warfare 
Department. 

Mr. L. W. Blanchard, who was head of my 
drawing-office, and showed not only his excep- 
tional technical ability and experience, but un- 
tiring energy under most difficult circumstances. 

Ideut. R. A. Robertson, Chief Inspector of all 
Tank production. 

Ideut. R. Spinney, his deputy. 

Captain T. L. Squires, who was responsible 
for the construction of gun-carrying machines, 
and who trained the crews who took the first 
of this type of Tank into action. 

Squadron 20, ILN.A.S., and Commander 
McGrath, who carried out all testing, expeq* 



248 TANKS 

menting and transport of the Tanks untQ the 
end. 

Sir Charles Parsons, who gave invaluable help 
as Technical Adviser to the Mechanical Waifiaie 
Department. 

I^Ir. Dudley Docker, Major Greg, Mr. Lincoln 
Chandler, Mr. E. Squires and Mr. Stockton of 
the Metropolitan Carriage Wagon and Finance 
Company, who organised the production of Tanks 
on tliat large scale without which they could 
never have played their decisive part. 

Sir William Beardmore and Mr. T. M. Service, 
who supplied armour and bomb-proof plates. 

Sir Robert Hadfiield, to whom we owed the 
special steel which gave the Tanks their length 
of life and trustworthiness. 

Mr. Morgan Yeatman, a genius in bridge 
building, who was technical adviser on stresses 
and strains in this novel Landship. 

Mr. Starkey of Messrs. William Foster & 
Company of Lincoln, head draughtsman under 
Sir William Tritton, who was responsible for 
the drawings of the first experimental and first 
successful Tank. 

Mr. Sykes, works manager of Fosters, who 
produced the experimental Tanks and was build- 
ing them from that time onwards until the 
Armistice. 

Sir George Hadcock and Mr. H. L Brackenbury 
of Messrs. Armstrong, Whitworth and Company, 
who designed the guns and gun-mountings, and 
never failed us in producing them in enormous 






KRNEST SyriKKS. KSy ,[■■ 



IN CONCLUSION 249 

numbers when the general opinion was that such 
production was impossible. 

Messrs. The Daimler Company and Mr. Percy 
Martin, who never failed in the supply of engines 
up to time. 

Engine Patents, Ltd., and Mr. H. Ricardo, 
who designed and produced the Ricardo engine 
in thousands. 

All the manufacturers, works managers, fore- 
men and workmen who, at all times, willingly 
worked night and day. I never remember a 
single instance of a strike in any of our Tank 
factories. No country could be prouder than 
this country should be of the work done by the 
men who built the Tanks. 

Nor would the story of the Tanks be complete 
without a tribute to the work done by the 
women. There was hardly any part of the Tank 
upon which women were not employed before 
the end of the war. 

In my own department. Miss L. P. P^rot was 
appointed Assistant Director. This brought 
forth from the Establishment Branch of the 
Ministry of Munitions a protest that such an 
appointment had never been made before and 
therefore could not be approved. But the ap- 
pointment was made and it was justified. To 
her and the thousands of women who worked 
for the Tanks the country owes its gratitude, 
as wen as to the men. 



K^ 



APPENDICES 



APPENDIX I 

IiBTTEB FROM MB. ASHMEAD BABTLETT 

MaHborough Ohamihen^ 

Match Uh, 1918. 

Deab Stebn, 

I am sending you the promised relic — 
namely, the (Pyrene) fire extinguisher of the 
Tank, H.M.S. Carunna^ which I recovered from 
her interior on October 7th, 1916. I think I 
was the first person to ever write a description 
of the Tanks which was allowed to appear in 
the Press. I will now quote from my Diary of 
that date: — 

^^I was endeavouring to get into the village 
of Combles, but was stopped by heavy shell- 
fire. I was taking cover in a trench on the 
ridge overlooking Combles, when I suddenly 
espied a strange-looking object l3dng close to 

the Bois de (I cannot remember the name 

of this wood, and have no map with me for the 
moment), about 150 yards away. I soon dis- 
covered with the aid of my glasses that it could 
only be a mortally wounded Tank. I then 
crawled over the shell-shattered ground to the 
spot. All around me were evidences of a fearful 
mfiKe; the dead, still unburied, lay in hundreds. 



254 APPENDIX I 

Some of the corpses had been partly covered with 
the earth which the heavy rains had washed a^way, 
exposing the grinning, half-decayed, blackened 
faces of the dead to view. Around the Tank 
itself they lay thicker than ever, showing how 
our infantry had attacked in her wake, endeavour- 
ing to obtain some shelter from the murderous 
machine-gun fire by crawling behind her. The 
Tank itself, H.M.S. Corunna^ was lying totally 
disabled, having been knocked out by a shell 
which had smashed the engine ; but as there were 
no dead inside, I do not know what became of 
the crew. It seemed that this Landship had 
reached the edge of the wood and made a counter- 
attack, for our dead and the German dead lay 
pell mell round this iron monster. I crawled 
inside and found the interior a mass of mangled 
machinery, cartridge belts and Hotchkiss shells. 
• • • The curious part of visiting H.M.S. Corunna 
was this — ^I was able to write a description of the 
Tanks which the French Military Censor inmieili- 
ately passed, so that the first account of them 
did not come from the correspondents attached 
to the British Army, but from those attached 
to the French. Passing along the ridge from 
Combles to Hardicourt, I discovered another of 
our dying Tanks which had fallen in a gallant 
attack on the village. The shell-fire was too 
heavy for me to approach, so I could collect no 
souvenirs from it." 

Yours very sincerely 

ASHMEAD BaBTLBTT. 



APPENDIX n 



PBOOBAMME OF TANK DISPLAY AT OLDBURT 

ON MABCH 8RD9 1917 



MINISTRY OF MUNITIONS. MINISTERB DS8 ICDNITIONS. 



MiMB 8u>, 1917. 



Dtmonstration 
oy 

•AL 

TANKS. 



>^«K^4:ii,M>i 



Owing to the Oonfid«itud Naton 
of this Bunphfet^ Tiaton are par- 
tionlar^ reqnetted to retoni it to 
the Offioer stfttiooed at the Gbte 
before leeyiiig. 

A.G. GTERN, 
Iieot.-Colonel» 
/Kredor-OMMfol WJi£J>. 



Im 8 1UB8, 1917. 



Stenca de DAmoofltration 

DIVERS TYPES 
DE TANKS. 



Ce Progrumne est oonfideiitieL 
et it est pertionliereineDt raoom* 
mendft de le lemettie 4 le aortie 4 
rOffider de Gkude. 

A. G. STERN, 
Lieot-ColoiMl, 



Pftrdcalan of ArrufdiBeBts. 



The TmokB will Una op in 
front of the Stand for Qenentl 
Inspection and Ezemination. 

The Tenke wiU leavo for end 
of fields and having lined up 



PROQRAMMB. 



Lea **THik8** aefont 

hli6m en faoe da Pavilion pour 
ime inapeotion ate^fmle. 

Lea ^Tenka^ ee mettiont eo 
mar ohe gon r im raeeemblement 

I'eKtvteciitA dn <»K^»»p, nn 



256 



APPENDIX n 



therOy will start siinultaiieouflly 
and crofls the trenoheSy finally 
retunuDg to the starting-point. 

Various Tanks will navigate 
the large Shell Holes in front of 
the Stand. 



point de depart. Partaat de 
oe point les ^^ Tanks " feront Is 
traverse des tnncbAee et re- 
viendront au point de deport. 

Plusieurs "Tanks ** feront b 
traverse des ** entonnotiB " en 
face du Flavillon. 



Visitom are requested to leave 
the Ground not later than 3 
o'clock. 

The special train for London 
will leave at 3.15 pan. 



Les Visiteurs sont piids ds 
quitter le champ au pfaas tard s 
3hr. 

Le train pour Londres partin 
a 3 hr. 16. 



Types Distingiudiing colours 

1. Origiiial Standard Maehlne BLACK (Nolr). 

2. Tritton Chaser GREEN (Vert). 

3. WiUlams-Jaimey HydrauUe SKY BLUS (Azor). 

4. Wilson Epieyelle WHITE (Blanc). 

6. Daimler Petrol-Eleetrle RED (Rouge). 

6. Westinghouse Petrol-Electric YELLOW ( Jaune). 

7. WUkins's Multiple Cluteh PINK (Rose). 

8. Gon-earrying Haehlne 



LIST OF OFFICIALS PRESENT AT DEMONSTRATION 
AT OLDBURY, MARCH 3, 1917. 



Gbnsbal Anijby. 
Lnrov. Akdebsok. 
M. Bbbvon. 
Genbraii Bingham. 
General Buvxjeb. 
cohmandeb bobis. 
LiBUV.-CoiacANBEB Babby. 
Majob Bbookbank. 
M. Bbilub. 
Libuv. Bbooub 



LiEXTV. Bbandon* 

L. W. BliANOHABD. 

Captain Bussell. 
LiEXTV. W. Bbay. 
Captain Boulton. 
Pay-Mastbb Bibd. 
Colonel Coubaoe. 
C. M. Cabteb» Esq. 
DuoALD Clbbk» Esq. 
Liextt.-Colonbl Cballbav. 



APPENDIX II 



257 



If. Gbograt. 

M. DS LA CKAUKB. 

Captaih Chabtebis. 

liIElTT. CCTDDT. 

Gensbal Dbssimo. 
Ljkut.-Colonbl Dbslandbxs. 
Ljkut.-Colonbl DoXTXXliG. 
Captain Dkpoiz. 
Bf • Ddfomv* 
A* Day, Esq. 
Dudley Dockbb, Esq. 
Dudley Dockbb, Jnb. 
Oenebal Estiemke. 
Snt E. d'Eynooxtbt. 

COXMODOBB EVEBEn. 

Sib. L. Wobthington Evans. 

Ck>LONEL ElLBS. 

Captain Edwabd8» R.N. 
Majob Oabbiox. 
BCajob Gbbo. 
A. P. QBiniTHSy Esq. 
Lieut. QBOSSxnra. 
Lieut. Gobdon. 
Captain Hope. R.N. 
Colonel Snt M. Hankey. 
Colonel Haynbs. 
Captain Holden. 
Captain Hatfield. 
Q. H. HuicPHBiES, Esq. 
Lieut. Hubebt. 
Qenebal de Jongh. 
Captain de Jabney. 
Colonel Jambs. 
Qenebal Kiggell. 

COMTE DE ChaBSELOUP LaUBAT. 

Colonel Lannowe. 
Captain Leisse. 
Colonel Habdboss Lloyd. 
Lieut. R. Levaique. 
Genebal F. B. Maubiob. 
8iB E. Monu 



Ck>LONEL Mhjcan. 

OOIOCANDEB MgGBATR. 

J. Mastebton Smikr» Esq. 

C. H. Mebz, Esq. 

M. Mantoux. 

Captain Miohel. 

lleut.-ciommandeb noques. 

Colonel Noot. 

Genebal Vioomte de la Pan- 

OUSE. 

Colonel Lobd Pbboy. 
Snt C. Pabsons. 

LnEUT.-COMMANDEB PEBSIN. 

Lieut. Robebtson. 

Lieut. Rendlb. 

H. R. RicABDOy Esq. 

Genebal Snt Hebbebt SmsH. 

Commandant Seneschal. 

M. Sabatieb. 

Captain Sandebson. 

Captain Symes* 

Colonel Symon. 

Colonel Sthbn* 

Lieut. Shaw. 

Captain Stevens* 

Colonel Seable* 

F. Skeens» Esq. 

E. Squibbs, Esq. 
Snt W. Tbitton. 
Captain Tbelawnay. 
Lieut. T&obnyobovt. 
P. TuBNEB, Esq. 

F. J. Todd, Esq. 
Captain Vyvyan, R JI* 

LlEUT.-COMMANDEB VeLPBY. 

Genebal Snt R. D. Whigham. 

Snt Glyn West. 

Snt John Weib* 

A. Wilson, Esq. 

Majob Wilson. 

LiEUV. Weston. 



258 



APPENDIX n 



1. 
S o 



H 

I. 

i 






op 
cb ^ 

64 lO 






s s 



I 



S 
g 



a 



s 



00 e« e^ 00 M M 00 

• •••••• 

lO to «D ao «0 «0 ao 



Pi «D a» ^ 



CO 

04 



S 2S 



CO 
C4 



^ lO 



'^ «0 
M 04 



CO 



H 



to 09 00 O 00 00 to 
04 i-l 0« 04 04 04 04 



s 



s 






OQ 



CO 
04 



04 



rH 04 






04 






» 

o< 



^ 



ssssasss 



11 04 



lO CO 



:§ I 



I 



& & 



o o e 

iz: »Q izi 



APPENDIX n 



259 



STANDARD MASK IV. 





I ' 



Standaxd Machlw Mo. 1. 



DMOripdoa. — This ia the 

been uaed in Fr«noe^ with 
the ezoeption of a few minor 
modificatioDe end the die* 
rerding of the teiL 

Power Unlt--One 6 oylinder 
106 BJLp. Deimkr enginey 
running et 1000 r.pon. 

IttnsmtaloiL — The drive ie 
taken from the engine by a 
clutch, through a two-speed 
and revoTM gear box» to 



worm gear and 



a croei shaft; thence 
it is taken to each track by 
independent two«speed gears 
and chain to a counter shaft 
on which are mounted two 
gear wheels engaging with the 
track driving spiocketo 



l^rp^MonnaL 



Oe type de nwohine est celui 
dont nous nous sommee servis 
depuis son introduction, mais 
avec quelques modifications, 
dont la supression dee deux 
roues directrices est la plus 
inq>ortante. 

Le moteur est 4 six cylindres da 
cent cinq chevaux k miUe 
tours par minute. Systdme 



ItaasmlssloiL — ^La puisssnce du 
moteur paaw p«r moyen d*un 
embrayage ordinaire et un 
changnnent de vitesse double 
avec marche en arridre, k un 
engrenage k vis sans fin et 
avec dm^rentiel, dont Taxe 
est dispose k travets la ma- 
dune. Get axe porte k cheque 
bout deux roues dent^ee ior> 
mant un changement de vi* 
k doable eOst. De Ik, 



260 



APPENDIX n 



Speed GontroL — ^This tranamia- 
sion provides for four speeds 
forward and two reverse, but 
neoeesitates the stopping of 
the machine in order to change 



Steering*— The steering is 

out by braking one or other 
side of the oroes shaft when 
the differential lock is out, or 
by the independent use of 
the secondary two-speed gears. 



Esttnutted Si 
Ist gear» ¥ of a mile per hour. 
2nd 99 If miles per nour. 
3rd »9 2 
4th .. 4 



f* 



»» 



»» 



r» 



Armour* — ^The machine is pro- 
tected by armour-plate vary- 
ing from 6 to 12 mm. m 
thickness. 

Armament. — ^This consists of 
either of two short 6-pounder 
23 calibre Q.F. guns, and four 
Lewis guns, or of six Lewis 
guns. 



Weight— The weight of this 
machine complete is about 26 
tons. 

Weighty horse power ratio* 
655 lbs. per h.p* 



ime chafne transmet Tefibit 
& deux roues dent^es qfui a'«n- 
gagent avec les roues dentte 
des deux chenilles qui as 
trouvent une k chaque cM 
de la machine. Oela donna 
a quatre vitesses en. avant, 
et deux en anidre, mats razret 
du mouvement de la machiiw 
est necessaire pour le ohaage- 
ment de viteese. 

Direction* — ^La directioii se fait 
par le freinage de la ohpniPe 
d'un c6t6 ou de Tautre pen- 
dant que le diffdrentiel eet 
debloqu^v ou par remploi in- 
d6penaant des deux cliange- 
mente suppl^moitaires, avec 
le diffdrentiel bloqu^ 

Vitesses Galeoltes. — 

Ire Viteese 1*206 kilomdtres a 

Fheure. 
2me Viteese 2*418 kOomdtreB a 

I'heure. 
Sme Viteese 3*219 kilonotoes a 

rheure. 
4me Viteese 6*437 kUomdtres a 
rheure. 

Blindage* — Le blindage eat de 
6 mm. k 12 mm. selon la 
position. 

Armament. — ^n y a deux types 
de cette machine dont un est 
arm^ de deux petita canons 
& tir rapide portent un obua 
de 2*724 kilos, et deux mitrail- 
leuses Lewis, et Tautre, de six 
mitrailleuses Lewis seulement. 

Le poids complet est de 26,390 
kuos. 

Poids du Tank pour un chevai 
vapeur, 252 kuogs. 

Lorsque les deux chenilles p(v- 
tent sur une longueur <rea- 
viron 1 m. 50, le poids pour 
centimetre carr6 est de 1 
kilog. 600. Enfonc^e dans la 
boue le poids pour oentinidtre 
carr^ est de 400 grammes 
environ. 



APPENDIX n 



261 



TnA iTMsar*.— 

MaTimiiTn (5 ft. ground 
line) 23-1 lbs. per aq. tn. 

MinJTniim (20 ft. ground 
line) 6*8 lbs. par aq. in. 



MaTJnmm poida aopport^ par 
la oheniUe d*une longueur 
1-524 metrea aur terre dura 
par centimdtre carr^ 1*6 kiloa. 
Enfono6e dana la boue jua- 
qu*4 6'1 metrea -4 
oaiTi6. 



TBITTON CHASER. 




U ^-^Ml 




Trilton*s Light BCachine, 
No. 2(E.M.B.) 

DtseriptiolL— Thia machine ia an 
attempt at meeting the re- 
quiromenta of the military 
autboritiea for a li|^t 



BCaddaa Lagtoa. SjwUmm 
Trittoa. 



Cette machine eat un eaaai fwur 
renq>lir toutes lea oonditiona 
demand^ea par T^tAt-major 
pour one viteaae de maroha 



^v^ 




APPENDIX n 



268 



Vrs6k PkMiuiA*— 

MaximiTin (4 ft. ground line) 
13*6 lbs. per sq. in. 

Minimum (17 ft. 2 in. ground 
^ 8*2 lbs. per aq. in. 



Poidi.— 9436 

Poids par dbeval, 90*8 

Pour ime port^ de 1 m. 15 le 
poids est de 76 kilogs. par 
centimdtre carr6 de ohenille 
qui est reduit k 175 grammes 
loisque la portde 5 met. 25. 



WILUAMS-JANNET HTDRAUUG GEAR. 



1 



■ V 














■^ 






M 




> 


M^ 1 




-( 


^^i;;^ 


L.,.,^ 


■«^ i 






> 



y-h 




li rilHayw<| -Jflni|||Y 

Hjdranlio Maddas, No. 3. 

DiMriptioiL— This maohiae is 
fitted with the Williams* 
Jsnney h3Pdraulic transmis* 
sion, in which the woridng 
fluid is oO. The pumps and 
motors woric on the same 
pnnoiidey being of rotary tyue 
with oyiinders j^arallel to tne 
axis of rotatum. Recipro- 
cating motion is given to the 
pistons by means of a disc 
whose penpendioular axis may 
be wfcftKn^ to the shaft. By 



SnMms WilUams^Jannaw. 

La machine fonotionne par Tin- 
termMiaire de Fhuue sous 
pression. Lee pompes et les 
moteuxs, dont il y a une 
paire pour chaque ohenille 
sont identi(|ue8. Les cyUn- 
dies sont dispose autour, et 
avec leuis axes parallels k 
I'axe de revolution de Tessieu. 
Le mouvement va et vient des 
pistons de la pompe se produit 
par rindinaison, d*un dia- 
phragme sur lequel aboutent 
MS bSUft, 



264 



APPENDIX n 



vailing the inolination of this 
disc to the shaft, the stroke 
and coDsequently the delivery 
of the pumps may be altered 
as occasion demands. The 
stroke of the motors is invari- 
able. 

Power Unit — ^The power miit 
consists of single six-cylinder 
105 B.h.p. Daimler engme. 

Transmlsston. — ^This is hydraulic. 
The two pumps are arranged 
side bv side and are driven 
from the engine by means of 
a reduction gear» giving a 
foiur-to-one reduction. The 
two motors transmit the drive 
through bevel fpar and a 
single spur reduction gear to a 
widk gear wheel arranged in 
between the track-mving 
sprockets. 

Speed Control. — ^The speed con- 
trol is infinitely variable and 
is carried out by varying the 
inclination of the discs in the 
pumps. 

Stoerlnc. — ^The steering is carried 
out by increasing the stroke 
of the pump on the side 
opposite to that to which it 
is desired to turn. 

Estimated Speeds. — ^The speed is 
infinitely variable from zero 
to four miles per hour. 

Armour. — Same as No. 1. 

Armament. — Same as No. 1. 

Weight.— The weight of this 
machine complete is about 
28 tons. 

Weight, horse power ratio, 
607 lbs. per h.p. 

Traek Pressure. — 

Maximum (6 ft. ground 
line) 24*9 lbs. per sq. in. 

Minimum (20 rt. ground 
line) 6*2 lbs. per sq. in. 



La changement de raia«^ do ce 
diaphragme oontrole la quan- 
tite d'nuile livr6e par la 
pompe, car la course oes 



tons est variable, et oootzole 
aussi le sens de la marcfae, et 
lee tours par minute de Faxe 
du moteur k huile sous pfes- 
sion. 

Moteur. — ^Le moteur 4 oonon ce 
est de 106 chevaux Daimler. 

Itansmlsslon. — ^La transmtssioQ 
se fait comme il eet deja dit 
Lee pompes toument 4 ^ de 
Vitesse, c est-d^-dire 4 250 touia 

Les Moteurs hydrauliques soht 
engages par rintermediaire des 
roues coniquee avec les roues 
dent^es qm s'engagent 4 leor 
tour avec les chenifies. 

GontrAle. — ^La viteese est con- 
trol^ par rinclinaison du dia- 
phragme. La direction se fait 
par racc^dration d*une che- 
nille ou de rautre» moyennaat 
rinclinaison des diaphragms 
des pompes. 

Vitesse. — "Cek viteese varie de sere 
jusqu'a 6*437 kilomdtres k 
rhenue. 

BUndage, et Armement oomme la 
machine normale. 

Folds. — ^Environ 2,420 kilos. 

Proportion 271 kfloe par chevaL 

Pression par centimetre carrS. 
Maximum 1-76 kiloe. 

MinJTniitn •46 kiloS. 



APPENDIX n 



265 



WILSON'S EPIGTGIIG TRANSBfllSSION. 





Wflson's EpicTclic Gear 
Machine, No. 4 (E.M.EO 

D«MrlptfoiL — ^ThiB traoflmifltton 
haa been desigDed to give as 
ita chief object better steering 
control, and secondly* to do 
away with the large worm 
reduction gear aa used on the 
Standard machine. The trans- 
mission is epicydic only in so 
far aa the epicyclic principle 
SB employed to give good steer- 
ing control without the use of 
a dutch, combined with re- 
duction gearing. 

Powar Unit. — ^The power unit 
consists of a single six-cylinder 
106 B.h.p. Daimler engine. 

Itaosmission. — The drive is 
taken fiom the engine by a 
dutch and four-speed and 
reverse sliding gear box to a 
bevd driven cross shaft ; thence 
it is taken to each track. 



ByaMme Flandtaire 
Wilson, 



Oe S3rstdme est destini6 pre- 
midrement k aogmenter la 
fadlit^ du contrdle, et 4 
supprimer la grande caiese 
avec roue helicoldale de la 
machine normale. 

Le systdme plan^taire est em« 

Elo3r6 seulement pour la fad* 
t^ de contrdle, et pour la 
combinaison avec une r6duo« 
tion de vitesse rendue possible 
et non pour un changement 
de vitesse. 

Le moteur est de six cylindies 
106 chevaux Daimler. 

TtaBsmissioiL — La transmisnoQ 
se fait par le moyen d*un 
embrayage ordinaire et un 
changraoent k quatre vitesses i 
un engrenage k roues coniques, 
05 se trouve i'appareil pour la 
marche CD arriidre (ce qui donne 



206 



APPENDIX n 



throu^ an epioyolio reduction 
sear indepeadently operated 
by means of a brake, and bv 
chain, to a divided croas shaft 
on which is mounted a pinion 
engaging with a central Rear 
wl^T between the road chain 
driving sprockets. A differ- 
ential effect is obtained by 
means of dog dutches on the 
divided cross shaft. 

Speed ControL — ^This transmis- 
sion provides four forward 
speeds and one reverse, to 
operate any of which it is 
necessary to stop the machine. 

Steering. — ^The steering is carried 
out by operating indei)endently 
the epicyolic reduction gear 
brakes. 

Eatimated Speeds. — 

1st gear, | of a mile per hour. 
2nd „ If miles per nour. 
3rd „ 2 „ „ 

4th „ 4 », »» 

Armour. — Same as No. 1. 

Armament. — Same as No. 1. 

Weight.— The weight of this 
maclune complete is about 
26 tons. 

Weight, horse power ratio, 
656 lbs. per h.p. 

Traek Pressure. — 

Maximum (6 ft. ground line) 
23*1 lbs. per sq. in. 

Minimum (20 ft. ground 
line) 6*8 lbs. pier sq. in. 



par eons^uenoe quatre vi- 
tesses en arridre), et eofin, 
pkr \m essieu transveraaL A 
chaque bout de oet easieu m 
trouve ime roue dent^ qui 
s'engage avec rannesui ez- 
terieur du systdme plan^taire^ 
iwft chaine communique l*ef- 
f ort & la cheniUe aveo qaelquoi 
modifications de la miiicnme 
normale. 
Le diffBrentiel est 8 upp i im 6 et 
toute la puissance au motenr 
se porte but Tautre chaniHe. 
C'est dans cette manidro qos 
la direction se fait. 
Vitesse Galcul6Q, — 

Ire Vitesse 1-206 kQomdtns 

par heure. 
2me Vitesse 2*1 kilomdties 

par heure. 
3me Vitesse 40 kilomdtees 

par heure. 
4me Vitesse 6-8 kilorndtres 

par heure. 
Blindage. — ^Armement et Foidi 
les memes que dans I* nor- 
male. 



APPENDIX II 



267 



DAIMLER PETROL-ELEGTRIG. 





DaimUr Petrol-Bectrio 
BCaGUno, No. 5 (E.M.F.) 

DwerlptiOB* — Tbo chief feature 
of this tnaBminion is the 
entire aboeDoe of coatrollera 
end eztemal wiring* except 
for the main leeda from ttie 
generator to the motors. The 
control is entirely effected by 
shifting the brash position on 
the generator and motors, 
arrangements being made to 
prevent excessive sparking. 

Fowsr Unit — ^This consists of a 
six-cvlinder Daimler engine 
fitted with aluminium pistons 
and a lighter fljrwheei. The 
nonnal speed is 1400 r.p.m. 

TransmissloB.— A sin^e oener- 
ator coupled direct with the 
engine supplies current to two 
motors in series. The inde- 
pendent control of each motor 



Machine electrlqpie 
Daimler. 



Le trait le plus remarquaUe de 
cette transmission est la sup* 
preaeion du controls et des 
nls extMeurs, sauf les con* 
duoteurs entre dynamos et 
moteurs. 

Controie. — Jjb contrAle est en* 
titeunent go uv emA par le 
mouvement des balais autour 
de leurs coUecteurs, et sans 
aucun orachement au balais. 

Le moteur est 4 essence aveo 
pistons en aluminium, et un 
volant plus 16ger. La vitesse 
normale est de 1»400 tours par 
minute. 

TftmsmlssloB* — ^Une djrnamo ao- 
coupl^ au moteur foumit 
Ttoergie 4 deux moteurs elec- 
triques en s^rie. Le contr61e 
independant des moteurs 41eo*' 



868 



APPENDIX n 



is aocompliflhed by ghifting 
the brushee. Each motor 
drives through a two-speed 
gear box to a worm reduction 
gear and from thence through 
a further gear reduction to 
the sprocket wheels driving 
the road chain driinng wheels. 
A differential lock is obtained 
by connectinff the two worm 
wheel shafts by a dog dutch. 

Speed Ckintrol. — The spmd is in- 
finitely variable within limits 
and is controlled by shifting 
the brushes on the generator 
and motors* the engine run- 
ning at a governed speed of 
1400 r.p.m. 

Steerins. — ^The steering is earned 
out bv means of the brush 
control on the motors. 

EBtimated Speedi.~-This varies 
from zero to four miles per 
hour. 

Armour. — Same as No. 1. 

Armament — Same as No. 1. 

Weight— The weight of this 
machine complete is about 
28 tons. 

Weighty horse power ratio^ 
501-8 Ids. per h.p. 

Track Pressure. — 

Maximum (6 ft. ground line) 
24*9 lbs. per so. in. 

Minimum (20 ft. ground 
line) 6*1 lbs. per sq. in. 



triques se fait par le moove- 
ment des balais. 

Chaque moteur fait marcher, 
pcur rintermediaire d*uii douUe 
changement de viteaae* une 
reduction 4 vis sans ^, el 
encore une r6duction avec les 
roues dent^es de la chenille. 

L'action diffdrentieUe est ob- 
tenue par la deplaccanent d*an 
manchon d'accouplemeat entre 
des deux vis sans fin. 

La Vitesse varie de sero 4 6-437 
kilometres. 

La direction se donne par le 
changement de vitesae des 
deux chenilles, selon rexplica- 
tion donn^ ci-deasus. 

Blindage. — ^Armement, oomme le 
type normale. 

Folds.— 28,420 kilos. 

Proportion, 227 kilos par cheivaL 

Preesion par centimetre oarr6. 
Maximum 1-70. 
Minimum *43. 



APPENDIX II 



269 



SBITISH WESTINGHOUSE PETROL-ELEGTRIG. 





Britiflh WMtinghonse 

P«Crol-I!leeiric AKachina, 

No. 6 (E.M.G.) 

DeieriplloiL—In thia tTaoanis- 
mon two separate aeCa con- 
sisting of generator and motor 
are used, the two generators 
being driven in tandem from 
the forward end of theeoginei 
one exciter being used for 
both mieratori. 

Power Unit — ^The power unit 
consists of the Standard siz- 
cjrlinder Daimler eogine, run- 
mng at 1200 r.pon. 

TraBsmlisioiL — ^Each generator 
provides current for its own 
motor, which drives its track 
by double reduction spur gear 
and chain drive to a counter 
shaft, on which is mounted a 
pinion wigsging with a gear 



Machine eleekriqoe British 
WMtiiighoiise. 



Dans cette "»^^*»'»^ fl y a deux 
installations indroendantes 
compos^es chacune <run dyna- 
mo et un moteur, pour chaque 
chenille. Une seule djrnamo 
exdtatrice sert pour les deux 
installations. Les deux dyna- 
mos sont install^es en " aerie,** 
devant le moteur Daimler 4 
VMS chevaux, qui est semblabla 
4 celui de la machine normals 

Chaque djrnamo transmet I'ener- 
oie 4 son propre moteur et par 
PintermMuaire d*une double 
reduction 4 roues dent^es, et 
d*une chatne, Teliort est trans- 
mis 4 la roue dentte de la 
chfmille, 

Le contiAie variable est entre 



270 



APPENDIX n 



wheel mounted between the 
two track sprookets. 

Speed ControL — ^The speed oon- 
trol is infinitely variable be- 
tween limits, and is effected 
by means of rheostats con- 
trolling the exciter currents 
to the fields, reversing being 
oarried out by separate re- 
versing switches mterlocked 
in such a way that the current 
must be out off before the 
switches can be operated. 

Steering. — ^The steering is carried 
out on this machine by oper- 
atinff the motors indepen- 
dently. 

Estimated Speeds. — ^This varies 
from zero to four miles per 
hour. 

Armour* — Same as No. 1. 

Armament. — Same as No. 1. 

Weight— The weight of this 
machine complete is about 
28 tons. 

Weight, horse power ratio, 
546-4 Ids. per h.p. 

Itaek Pressure. — 

Maximum (6 ft. ground line) 
24*0 lbs. per sq. in. 

Minimum (20 ft. ground 
line) 6*2 lbs. per sq. in. 



wAto et 6-4S7 kflo un ft to es et m 
fait par des rheostats oon- 
tr61ant les champs ^leetriquei 
des moteurs. La msanrhB eo 
anidre est oontroDi6e par ub 
manipulateur inveraeor ind^ 
pendant, k actions solidariste 
de maniike qu'Q faut que la 
oourant soit interrompu avaoi 
que ropAration d'inversian as 
&sse. Xa direction se fait 
par reparation indfipeodante 
dee moteurs. 
Blindage. — ^Armement oomma 

machine normale. 
Folds. — 28,420 kilogrammes 
Proportion 248 kilos par chevaL 
Pression par oentimdtre cacr6. 
Marimum 1*70. 
Minimum -43. 



APPENDIX n 
WILKINS'S CLUTCH GEAR. 




Wflkbu'a aotch 0«ar 
Systam Maohina, No. 7 

(E.H.H.} 

Dwari^on. — This syvlem of 
gvftnng u deaifpwd with the 
object of providing a bett«r 
■od aiinpler eontnH both for 
■ad for 



Poww Unit — Ooo nx-ojrliadar 
lOS B.h-p. Dmimlar ongiiie 
running at 1000 r.p.m. 

TnnimluloiL — The drivo ia 
taken from the engine by a 
bevel gear to a croaa shaft; 
at each end of this cron shaft 
is mounted a tbroe-«peed and 
revene gear box in which the 
^ara are engaged by mean! 
of clutohea so constructed that 
it is impoadble to have two 
gean engaged at the same 
tinw. Thenoe the drive is 
taktn by spur gearing to a 



Syrttaia WaUna, 
•mbrayga. 



Oe tyaUiue donne un oontrtlo 
■up^rieur et en meme tempa 
plus simple, tant pour la 
direction que pour le chang»- 
ment de vi t essa. Motaur 
Daimler 100 chevaux. 

TriBlHlltllnil — La traosmi^oo 
est k roues ooniques, avee aza 
transversal, k chaque boot 
duquel ae trouva nn eogrenage 
4 trots vitesiBs et marobe en 
arritee, dont les roues sont 
engagtes par des tmbrmy*gt» 
k plaques, de maoiAre qu'il 
est impossible que deux em- 
brayagea soient engages ta 
mAme tempa. Dana ocA ap> 
pareil reflorC est traaamia par 



lequel est monti ua l^g*"^, 
qui s'engage aveo la rooe 



272 



APPENDIX n 



ero0B ahaft» on ^diich 
SB mounted a pmion wigaging 
with intemany cut teeth in 
the toack-driving sproc^cet. 
A difiterential lock Is obtained 
by means of slidins dog 
cratches on the divided cross 
shaft. 

Speed Control. — ^This transmis- 
sion provides three forward 
speeds and one reverse, any 
ox which may be engaged 
whilst the manhine is in 
motion. 

Steering. — ^The steering on this 
machine is carried out by en- 
gaging a lower ^ear in the 
^ear box on the side to which 
it ia desired to turn. 

Bsttnuted Speeds. — 

1st gear, 1*0 mile per hour. 
2nd 99 1*9 miles per hour. 
Srd ff 3'9 99 99 

Armour. — Same as No. 1. 

Armament — Same as No. 1. 

Weight— The weight of this 
machine complete is about 
26 tons. 

Weighty horse power raUo* 
6iS5 lbs. per h.p. 

Itaek Pressure. — 

Maximum (6 ft. ground line) 
23*1 lbs. per sq. in. 

Minimum (20 ft. ground 
line) 6*8 lbs. per sq. in. 



intMeuremeot dentte de k 
chwnille. 
L*action differontiefle est ob- 
tenuB k volont6 par le d^iao^ 
ment d'un manchon d^se- 
oouptoment mont^ sor Is 
deux parties de Taxe quipaaBe 
4 tr ave r s la mftr.hiiie. II y & 
trois vitesses en avant^ et me 



DlreetlOB. — ^La direction se fiit 
par rengagament de Tem- 
brayage de la vitesse inf Meore 
d'un Sbit6 ou de Taatie^ seka 
la direction vouhie. 

Blindage. — ^Aimement et poids, 
et propGHTtion de poids, aaasi 
les preesions de chenilles soot 
identiques avec oeox de Is 
machine normale. 



^ 



APPENDIX II 



278 



GUN-GABRTING ISAi 





[ 



f 



^^-^^(^'tz:] 




s. ^i &« x.tAx^^'x^^r.'. 



cn 



■^Ea 



m 



Gun-Carrying MacJiine 
No. 8 (6.G.) 

DeMription. — ^This machine oar- 
lies either — 

(a) One 60-pounder 5-in. gun 

with carriage, wheels 

and 64 rounds of am* 

munition, or 

(6) One 6-in. howitzer com* 

plete with carriage, 

wheels and 64 rounds 

of ammunition. 

£ither ^tm can be fired from the 

machme, or can by a spedal 

slipway be imshipped with its 

carriage and mounted on its 

wheels. This machine can 

carry ammunition alone up 

to 130 rounds of 60-pounder 

ammunition or 130 rounds of 

6-in. howitzer ammunition* 

Poww Unit— The power unit on 

this machine consists of a single 

T 



Machine portoor de 
SyatAme 6.G. 



Cette machine est capable de 
transporter ou un canon por- 
tent un obus de 27-2 kilos» 
126 mm. oomplet aveo affiit de 
canon, roues demont^es, et 
64 cartouches, ou un obusier 
de 150 mm. avec 64 car* 
touches. On peut tirer avec le 
canon ou aveo I'obusier mont^ 
en place sur le porteur. 

Par le moyen d*un traineau la 
pidce peut dtre enlev6e et 
mise sur roues. La piece 
enlev6e le porteur peut etre 
chsjg^ de 130 obus. 

Itansmlttlos. — La transmission 
est trds semblable 4 celle de oe 
•»^^*>»"^ No. 1. 

La Vitesse de marche est celle 
de la machine normale. 

La direction se fait 



274 



APPENDIX n 



Bix-oylinder 105 B.h.p. 
engine running at 1000 r.p.m. 
Itftiismistion. — ^The transmission 
on this machine is verv Bimilar 
to that used in the Standard 
Machine No. 1. 

The chief difference is that 
the track driving sprockets 
are wider and stronger, neces- 
sitating a corresponding in- 
crease m the width of the track 
links. 
Speed Control. — The speed con- 
trol is the same as the Stan- 
dard Machine No. 1. 
Steering. — ^The steering on this 
machine is carried out par- 
tially by means of an ordinary 
steering wheel in front of the 
driver's seat, which operates 
the wheels of the tail, which 
is used on this machine, and 
partially by the independent 
use of the secondary gears. 
Estimated Speeds. — 
1st gear, f of a mile per hour. 
2nd „ l| miles per nour. 
8rd „ 2 „ „ 
4tn „ 4 „ „ 
Weight. — The weight of this 
machine complete with either 
gun or howitzer and ammuni- 
tion is 34 tons. The machine 
sJone weighs 26 tons. 

Weight, horse^ power ratio, 
725 lbs. per h.p. 
Traek Pressure. — 

Maximum (4 ft. 3 in. ground 
line) 35-5 lbs. per so. in. 

Minimum (25 ft. ground 
line) 6*0 lbs. per sq. in. 



par rintermi6diaire d\me cfine- 
tion ordinaire d'auto, mais Is 
roues directrices sent mar Far- 
ridre de la mafihine an hen 
de sur le devant. CTesi b 
systdme qu'on a sappond 
dans les premidrea Tnarhinfs 
" Tanks,** nuds qu'on a txofM 
trds necessaire poor una ma- 
chine aussi longue ax» oeDe-cL 

La direction est 9ia6& par k 
freinage d*une cfa«iilje ca 
Tautie, selon la direetioii voo- 
lue. 

Folds. — Charg6 canon oa obusier. 
— ^Munitions et persooelfe 
35,000 kilos, net 26,376 kika 

Proportion — ^Poids 4 piiiiiiwinnn 
de cheval 329 kilos. 

Pression sur la chenille. 
M^yimnm 2*30 Idlos par centi- 
metre carr6. 
Minimum "42 kilos par ceoti- 

mdtre carr6. 
Longueur pour le TTtinfir"^ 
poids 7*62 m. 



APPENDIX III 







H S 



SI 



APPENDIX IV 



II 



.IlilllH^ 



II I l6 I 



II I IS I S S S ' 



I |S 



I II I 3 



I 3 S III i i i 



§ I s mt 



SI?. 



a I S i| 5 I i 1 1|. 



i I as I i S I « 



I ri ^ I j 



;.i i i s ill iOs 



APPENDIX V 

ABTILLERIE d'ASSAUT 

A Short Sketch of the Development 
OF THE French Tanks 

The existence of the French Tank Corps was 
due to the untiring energy of one man. 

On December 1st, 1915, Colonel Estienne, then 
commanding the 6th French Divisional Artillery, 
addressed a letter to the Commander-in-Chief of 
the French Armies, in which he expressed his firm 
belief that it was possible to construct an engine 
of war mechanically propelled and protected by 
armour which would transport infantry and guns 
over the battle-fields on the Western Front. 

This was the result of his work through the 
year 1915, during which time he had seen Holt 
tractors in use with British Artillery Units. 

On the 12th of December, 1915, he was given 
an interview at G.Q.G. (French General Head- 
quarters), where he propounded his theories, and 
on the 20th he visited Paris and discussed 
mechanical details with the engineers of the 
Schneider firm. 

It was not, however, until the 25th of February, 
1916, that the Under Secretary's Department for 

i77 



278 APPENDIX V 



Artillery and Munitions decided to place an order 
for 400 armoured vehicles with the Schneider 
works. 

Colonel Estienne, meanwhile, returned to his 
command, the 8rd Corps Artillery, before Verdun, 
but kept in touch with the makers unofficially. 
Here he learned, on or about the 27th of AprU, 
1916, that 400 other armoured vehicles of a 
different type had been ordered by the Under 
Secretary's Department. These were the St. 
Chamond tjrpe — ^a heavier machine, with petrol- 
electric motive force. 

In June of this year the Ministry of Munitions, 
which had been created meanwhile, decided to 
have some one to take charge of construction and 
early organisation. An area for experiment and 
instruction was formed at Marly-le-Roi in July, 
and, later, a depot for the reception of stores at 
Cercottes, both being under the control of the 
Ministry. 

On the 80th of September General Estienne was 
gazetted '^ Commandant de TArtillerie d'Assaut 
aux Armies," and also appointed the Com- 
mander-in-Chiefs delegate to the Ministry of 
Munitions in matters connected with Tanks. He 
thus became an official connecting link between 
the Armies in the field and the organisation for 
construction. The name "Artillerie d'Assaut,'' 
with its contraction *^ A.S.", came into use at this 
time, **S'* being used instead of a second "A" 
for the sake of euphony. 

In October a training centre within the Army 



APPENDIX V 279 

areas was established at Champlieu, on the 
southern edge of the Forest of Compidgne, and 
it was here that the first Unit of Tanks arrived 
on the 1st of December, 1916. It consisted of 
sixteen Schneider Tanks. During the succeed- 
ing months Schneider and St. Chamond Units 
continued to arrive at irregular intervals, and by 
April 1917 nine Schneider Companies and one 
St. Chamond Company were ready for operations. 
On the 16th of that month they went into action 
in the ambitious attack over a wide front on the 
heights above the Aisne. The attack had been 
postp<med for two days, and on the 16th the 
enemy's artillery was not mastered. Eight 
Schneider Companies were used. Three Companies 
were to operate between the Craonne Plateau 
and the Miette, and five Companies between the 
Miette and the Aisne. The operation was un- 
successful. The former Companies failed to get 
into action, and consequently suffered heavy 
losses from enemy artillery which overlooked 
their advance from the heights of Craonne 
Plateau. The latter Companies succeeded in 
crossing the second line of the enemy's defence 
and in reaching and even passing the third line, 
but although they remained for a considerable 
time in front of the infantry, it was impossible 
for the infantry to follow them, owing to the very 
heavy machine-gun fire. At nightfall the Tank 
Companies were rallied, having sustained serious 
losses both in machines and men. Bodies of 
infantry had been specially detailed to escort 



280 APPENDIX V 

Tanks and prepare paths for them, but their 
training with them had been so short that their 
work was either ineffectual or not done at alL 
Of 182 Tanks, seventy-six remained either ditched 
or mechanically unfit in or near the enemy's lines. 
Of these fifty-seven were totally destroyed. 

On the 5th of May, one St. Chamond and two 
Schneider Companies took part in a hurriedly 
prepared operation with the 6th Army. The 
Schneider Companies led the infantry in a suc- 
cessful attack on Laffaux Mill. Of the sixteen 
St. Chamond Tanks detailed for the action, one 
only crossed a German trench. 

Between May and October an attack on the 
west of the Chemin des Dames was carefully pre- 
pared by the 6th Army. Special infantry was 
attached to the Tank Corps as '^ troupes d'accom- 
pagnement," and lived with Tank Units. This 
was rendered necessary by the inability of the 
Tanks to cross large trenches unaided. 

The left of the attack was over the same ground 
as that of the right in the May attack. Five 
Companies took part in the operation under the 
orders of Colonel Wahl, who had recently been 
appointed to command the Artillerie d'Assaut 
with the Army. The Schneider Companies again 
operated with success, while of the St. diamonds 
only one or two reached the Plateau. St. 
Chamonds were again employed a few days later, 
but afforded the infantry no support. Of the 
Tanks actually in these two actions (sixty-three), 
only eight were hit by enemy artillery. All Tanks 



APPENDIX V 281 

were salved, together with a few lost in the 
previous engagement. It was considered that 
the action of the Tanks had thoroughly justified 
their construction. 

Meanwhile, General Estienne had been working 
on the development of a lighter Tank. This idea 
of a light Tank first came to him after his visit to 
England in June 1916, where he had seen the 
British Mark I. manoeuvre at Birmingham. His 
report, written on his return, clearly showed 
his desire for a heavy Tank to have be^n to 
a great extent achieved in the machine he had 
seen in England. His idea of a light Tank was 
the development of an earUer idea of attacking 
with waves of skirmishers in open order, each 
skirmisher clad in armour and armed with a rapid- 
firing weapon. He believed now that the same 
result might be reached with a light armoured 
vehicle. These views he laid before the Renault 
firm in July 1916, and urged the Ministry to 
accept his proposed light Tank, but without 
success. Complete designs were, however, pre- 
pcured, and on the 27th of November, General 
Estienne was able to propose to the Commander-in 
in-Chief, Marshal Joffre, the construction of a 
large number of light Tanks for future operations, 
and to inform him of the existence of plans for 
such a Tank; in fact, 150 had already been 
ordered as ^' Command " Tanks for the heavy 
Battalions. The first trial was held on the 14th 
of May, 1917. Still the Ministry were not con- 
vince(^ and it was not until further trials had 



282 APPENDIX V 

taken place in May that an order for 1,150 Tanks 
was confirmed. In June the number ordered was 
raised to 3,500. In this month a new sub-Depart- 
ment of the Ministry of Munitions was formed to 
deal specially with Tanks, and was called ^^ La 
sous Direction d'Artillerie d'Assaut." 

It was the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917 
which finally convinced the Ministry of the 
potentialities of the Tank. Their op{K)sition 
ceased, and in order to accelerate the output the 
firms of Renault, Schneider and Berliet were all 
engaged in the manufacture of these light Tanks, 
whilst negotiations were opened with America 
for a further supply of them and an order placed 
for 1,200. 

In December 1917 it was decided to form thirty 
light Tank Battalions, of seventy-five Tanks each, 
three of which were to be Wireless Tanks. For 
the purposes of secrecy light Tank Units were 
organised in an auxiliary park which the Ministry 
established in December within the precincts of 
the existing centre at Champlieu, but it was not 
until the beginning of June 1918 that the Armies 
began to receive Battalions for operations at the 
rate of one per week. 

Orders for the St. Chamond and Schneider 
Tanks, meanwhile, were limited to 400 of each 
type. As they became obsolete a heavier type of 
Tank was designed (C.A.8), but only one of these 
was built. A still heavier type, weighing forty 
tons, was given a trial in the grounds of the Forges 
et Chantiers de la M6diterrann6e in December 



APPENDIX V 288 

1917. It was then decided to build a Tank (2.C.) 
weighing sixty-two tons, which would in all 
probability reach seventy tons by the time it was 
finished. 

In March 1918, when the German offensive 
began, all available Tanks were sent up behind 
the 8rd Army front as counter-attack troops, 
and in this capacity took part in minor operations 
for possession of important tactical features, with 
varied success. Altogether thirty-six Tanks were 
employed in these local operations. Then, on 
the 27th of May, the Germans launched, between 
Soissons and Reims, the attack which was aimed 
at Paris. On the 9th of June it was extended to- 
wards the north between Montdidier and Noyon. 
The attack that day fell on the 8rd Anny, 
behind which four heavy Tank battalions were 
in position. The first and second lines soon gave 
way, and troops detailed for counter-attack were 
absorbed in the battle. Reinforcements were 
hurried up on the 10th, and General Mangin 
launched his counter-attack with Tanks and 
tired infantry on the 11th. The battle lasted 
till the 18th. In spite of serious difficulties, 
111 out of 144 Tanks started at zero hour. 
Losses in machines were very heavy and casual- 
ties in personnel reached 50 per cent. Owing to 
the good going, however. Tanks were able to 
outdistance the infantry and succeeded in in- 
flicting a heavy blow on the enemy. His offensive 
at this point was definitely broken. 

The St. Chamond and Schneider Tanks were 



284 APPENDIX V 

now becoming rapidly worn out, and as further 
construction of these types had ceased, their 
maintenance became more difficult. In the 
action of June 11th they were at their zenith. 
From that date onwards they continued to 
fight until they dropped by the wayside, and 
gradually heavy units ceased to exist, or were 
amalgamated with the light. Finally, two Bat- 
talions were armed with the British Mark V. 
Star, but these Battalions never went into action. 

To meet the attack on May 27th, it had been 
decided to use all available means, and two 
Battalions of Renault Tanks were hurried up by 
road to the north-eastern fringes of the Forest 
of Villers Cotterets from Champlieu, although 
they were intended originally solely for use in 
attack. On the 81st of May they first went into 
action, two Companies working with Colonial 
infantry on the Plateau east of Cravan9on Farm. 
From this date to the 15th of June these two 
Battalions continued to act on the defensive with 
tired infantry. Nevertheless, they succeeded in 
preventing a further advance of the German 
Armies. 

By the 15th of June reinforcements had arrived, 
and operations were carried out up to the end of 
the month which enabled the Une to be straight- 
ened out and starting-points gained for any future 
offensive on a large scale. Eighty-five Renault 
Tanks were engaged during the latter part of 
June. 

The next and last attempt of the Germans to 



APPENDIX V 285 

break through the Allied line was launched be- 
tween Ch&teau Thierry and Reims on the 15th 
of July. The attack was awaited with feverish 
excitement. First the probability of an im- 
pending attack in this sector became known, 
then its boimdaries, and finally the actual zero 
hour. When the attack was launched its weight 
was wasted on evacuated trenches, and it failed 
completely. The moment for the counter-attack 
had arrived, and all available Tank Units, heavy 
and light, were hurried, by road and rail, to the 
west, south-west, and eastern sides of the salient 
between Soissons and Reims. 

The counter-attack was launched on the 18th 
of July with a view to cutting off the salient, and 
Tank Units in varying numbers were employed 
with each of the three Armies engaged. 

In the 10th Army area an advance of five to 
six kilometres was made, with Tanks always in 
the van of the rapidly-tiring infantry. On the 
first day, out of 824 Tanks available 228 were 
engaged. On the succeeding day this number 
was reduced to 105. One hundred were again 
available for action on the 21st. Altc^ther, 
during the five days' fighting, 216 Schneider and 
181 St. Chamond and 220 Renault Tanks fought 
actions, and of this number 180 were lost, while 
the casualties in personnel were 819. 

In the 6th Army area an advance of twenty 
kilometres was made during seven days' opera- 
tion, and forty-three St. Chamond and 280 
Renault Tanks fought actions. Losses were 



28« APPENDIX V 

much less serious owing to the Crennan ten- 
dency to retire, fifty-eight Tanks only being 
disabled, while there were seventy-five casualties. 
The 6th Army was afterwards withdrawn from 
this front owing to the shortening of the line, 
and next appears with the Grand Army of 
Flanders. 

In the 5th Army area ninety Light Tanks 
fought actions. Among these was a minor opera- 
tion in conjunction with Units of the 22nd 
British Corps astride the Ardre River. 

This operation had tremendous influence on 
succeeding operations owing to the eagerness 
with which infantry commanders clamoured for 
Tank Units, and the consequent speeding up of 
training and turning out of new Battalions. 

From this time new Battalions were made 
available for the forward area at the rate of one 
per week; thus tired Battalions withdrawn on 
the 28rd and 27th July could almost immediately 
be replaced. 

The British coimter-offensive opened on the 
8th of August in conjunction with the 1st and 
10th French Armies, and on the 8th and 9th of 
August eighty Tanks advanced with the infantry 
a distance of eighteen kilometres on the south of 
the Roye- Amiens Road, while thirty Tanks made 
a five-kilometres advance near Montdidier. 

An attack on a larger scale was made west of 
Roye from the 16th to the 18th of July. Here 
sixty Renault and thirty-two Schneider Tanks 
were engaged. The area of operations was an 



APPENDIX V 28T 

old battlefield, and Tanks found great difficulty 
in co-operating with the infantry. 

The next operation was a continuation of the 
10th Army offensive, and took place between the 
Oise and the Aisne Rivers. It began on the 
20th of August, and continued intermittently up 
to the 8rd of September. On the 20th and 22nd 
twelve Schneider, twenty-eight St. Chamond and 
thirty Renault Tanks were engaged north of 
Soissons, and during the week commencing the 
28th of August three Light Battalions advanced 
five kUomdtres between the Aisne and the Aillette. 
Three hundred and five Tanks were employed 
at different times during these operations. 

The next operation in which Tanks were en- 
gaged was the straightening out of the St. Mihiel 
salient. French Tanks were used both with the 
2nd French and American Armies. During the 
two days' fighting, the 12th and 18th of Septem- 
ber, twenty-four Schneider, twenty-eight St. 
Chamond and ninety Renault Tanks entered the 
battlefield. 

On the next day the 10th Army resumed its 
offensive east of Soissons. Eighty-five Renault 
actions were fought during the three days that 
it lasted. 

Ten days later a larger joint attack was made 
by the 5th and 2nd French Armies in conjimction 
with the American Army, and then the 4th 
Army attacked on a fifteen kilometre front in 
the Champagne, and employed during the period 
680 Renault and twenty-four Schneider Tanks. 



288 APPENDIX V 

The attack was very difficult in its initial stages, 
as it had to be made over highly-organised 
ground, part of which the French had evacuated 
in anticipation of the German attack on the 
15th of July. 

Meanwhile, the 2nd French and American 
Armies attacked on a twelve kilometre front be- 
tween the Argonne and the Meuse, and advanced 
during the seven battle days fifteen kilometres. 
Two hundred and thirty Renault, thirty-four 
Schneider and twenty-seven St. Chamond actions 
were fought during this advance. 

At the urgent request of the French Army 
1 Commander in Flanders, a Renault Battalion, 

less one Company, and some heavy Units were 
^ sent to Dunkirk. The 8rd Company of this 

Renault Battalion had been sent on detachment 
to join General Franchet d'Esperey at Salonika. 
On the 80th of September and on the 8rd and 4th 
of October fifty-five Tanks were employed north- 
west of Roulers, without achieving much success. 
From the 14th to the 19th of October eight St. 
Chamond and 170 Renault Tank engagements 
were fought during the offensive and penetrated 
to a depth of fifteen kilometres, but not a few St. 
Chamond Tanks failed to negotiate the country. 
The advance was continued on the 81st of the 
month in the direction of Thielt, and on that 
and the two succeeding days seventy-five Tank 
engagements took place. 

From the end of September onwards operations 
consisted in following up and pressing upon 



li-Tank Kifle. {p. 238) 




a Aati-Tanli Ritle compared wilh a Bntl^tl. \f. 23Si 



nX- 



^-^ 



APPENDIX V 289 

a Tetiring enemy all along the line» and small 
engagements with a few Tanks took place in 
v^arious sectors. 

To summarise the number of individual Tank 
engagements during the year 1918 : Renault 
Tanks fought 8,140 times, Schneider 478 times, 
and St. Chamond 875 times, making a total of 
8,988 actions. Tanks were employed on 45 
of the 120 days between the 15th of July and 
the 11th of November. 

The figures available on the 1st of December, 
1918, in regard to Tank losses were as follows : — 

Renault Tanks. Of the total of 2,718 de- 
livered to the fighting Units, 284 remained 
on the battlefield for salvage, 74 were 
definitely abandoned, 869 had been returned 
to the makers for reconstruction, and 1,991 
were left available for action with Units in 
the field. 

Schneider Tanks. Of the 400 manufactured, 
only 97 were still fit, while 187 existed in 
more or less unfit condition; the remainder 
were dead and buried. 

St. Chamond Tanks. Still fewer remained fit 
of the original 400. Seventy-two laid claim 
to be capable of further fighting, 157 were 
admittedly on the sick list, and the balance 
had been scrapped. 

The German military authorities admitted 
that their discomfiture on the 18th of July was 
largely brought about through the use of " masses 



290 APPENDIX V 

of Tanks/' and their communique were evidence 
of the great influence that the Renault Tank had 
upon the battle. 

The Crcneral Commanding-in-Chief of the 
French Armies addressed to the Artillene 
d'Assaut, on the 80th of July, the foUowii^ 
Order of the day, ^^Vous avez bien m£rit^ la 
Patrie/' while the General Commanding re- 
ceived the Cravat of the Legion d'Honneur, and 
was promoted to the rank of General of Divison 
for his great services to his country. 



APPENDIX VI 



TANKS IN PALESTINE 



In December 1916, eight Tanks (Marks I. and 
II.) were sent out to Egypt to join the Army 
operating in Palestine, with twenty-two officers 
and 226 N.C.O.s and men. No opportunity was 
given to adapt the Tanks, designed for use in 
France, to the very different conditions of desert 
warfare, and though only partially successful, 
they achieved a much greater measure of success 
than it had seemed possible to hope for them. 
This was due to the determination and very fine 
spirit of their crews. 

They went into action first in the Second Battle 
of Gaza, in the middle of April 1917. Owing to 
the shortness of time there was practically no 
reconnaissance, and the infantry commanders 
hardly understood what could and what could 
not be expected of Tanks. As a result the 
objectives given them were not only very difficidt 
but too many. Eight machines were asked to do 
what in France would have been given to two 
Battalions. In spite of this the Tanks did very 
valuable work in protecting the infantry, although 
they were far too few to make the protection 
anything like adequate, for the Turks were 

ua 891 



892 APPENDIX VI 

equipped with hundreds of cleverly hidden 
machine-guns. What the Tanks could do they 
did. Each of the eight covered, on an average, 
forty miles of coimtry. One was destroyed by 
a direct hit, and another had one of its tracks 
broken by a shell and was captured in a Turkish 
counter-attack. 

Seven months later the Tanks again went into 
action in the Third (and victorious) Battle of 
Gaza. A reinforcement of three Mark IV.s had 
been received, and eight Tanks went into action, 
six in the first line, and two in reserve. They 
operated with the 54th Division and the Indi»i 
Cavalry near the sea, and the preliminary recon- 
naissances were made on horseback and by 
drifter. The Tanks did useful work, but not 
all that was asked of them, again for the reason 
that more was asked than they could possibly 
have performed. The six first line Tanks had no 
fewer than twenty-nine objectives assigned to 
them. 

The infantry, and not the Tanks, began the 
attack at eleven at night on November 1st. 
While this attack was in progress the Tanks moved 
up to their starting-points, which they reached by 
half-past two in the morning, half an hour before 
their attack was to begin. The moon had then 
just risen, and it had been hoped that the Tanks 
would have its light to advance by, but a dense 
haze, thickened by the smoke of the battle, 
deprived them of this» and they went forward on 
compass bearings. 



APPENDIX VI SOS 

Although they did not do all that was expected 
of them, the Tanks materially helped the infantry. 
Five of the six reached their first objectives, four 
reached their second, third and fourth, and one 
reached its fifth also. Three of the six were 
temporarily out of action before the end of the 
battle, and so were the two reserve Tanks which 
came up in support an hour after the action 
began, both loaded with empty sand bags; and 
these, unfortunately, caught fire. On the other 
hand, the casualties in personnel were very small, 
one man killed and two wounded. 

The disabled Tanks were repaired but they 
were not used again. What was now wanted for 
the difficult work of rounding up the rearguard 
detachments of the retreating Turkish army was 
a lighter and faster Tank. A mission was sent 
to France to see if a number of Whippets could 
be obtained, but this mission only reached Head- 
quarters in France on March 21st, 1918, the day 
the great German attack was laimched. There 
was no possibility then of taking any Tanks from 
the Western Front. 

The Third Battle of Gaza ended the Tank 
operations in Palestine, The machines there 
were handed over to the Ordnance Department 
at Alexandria and the crews returned to England. 



APPENDIX VII 



"TANK'' TRIAL 



Description of "Tank 



»» 



This machine has been designed, under the 
direction of Mr. E. H, T. d'Eyncourt, by Mr. 
W, A. Tritton (of Messrs. Foster, of Lincobi) and 
Lieutenant W. G. Wilson, R.N.A.S., and has 
been constructed by Messrs. Foster, of Lincobi. 
The conditions laid down as to the obstacle to 
be surmounted were that the machine should be 
able to climb a parapet 4 feet 6 inches high and 
cross a gap 5 feet wide. 

Over-all Dimensions 

FMt. In«k«. 

Length ..... 81 8 

Width with sponsons ... 18 8 

,, without sponsons . . 8 8 

Height 8 

Protection 

The conning tower is protected generally by 
10 millim. thickness of nickel-steel plate, with 
12 millim. thickness in front of the drivers. The 

294 



APPENDIX VII S»5 

sides and back ends have 8 millim. thickness of 
nickel-steel plate. The top is covered by 6 millim. 
thickness of high tensile steel, and the belly is 
covered with the same. 



Weight 

Tons. Cwt. 

Hull SI 

Sponsons and guns . S 10 
Ammunition, 800 rounds for guns 

and 20,000 rounds for rifles ^ . 2 

Crew (8 men) . . . 10 

Tail (for balance) ... 1 8 



Total weight with armament, crew, 

petrol, and ammunition 28 8 

Horse-power of engines . . 105 h.p. 

Number of gears .... 4 forward, 

2 reverse. 
I mile, 
l| miles. 



Approximate speed of travel on 
each gear .... 



2^ miles, and 
4 miles per 
hour. 



Armumtnt 
Two 6-pr. guns, and 

Three automatic rifles (1 Hotchkiss and 2 
Madsen). 

Rate of Fire 

6-pr. : 15-20 rounds per minute. 
Madsen gun : 800 rounds per minute. 
Hotchkiss gun : 250 rounds per minute. 

^ lUmoTabk for transport purpoi 



290 APPBNDDC VII 

Notes as to Steel Plate obtained fbom 

Experiments Made 

Nickel-Steel Plate 

12 millim. thickness is proof against a concen- 
trated fire of reversed Mauser Bullets at 10 yards 
range, normal impact. 

10 millim. thickness is proof against single 
shots of reversed Mauser bullets at 10 yards 
lange, normal impact. 

8 millim. thickness is proof against Mauser 
bullets at 10 yards range, normal impact* 

High Tensile Steel Plate 

6 millim. thickness will give protection against 
bombs up to 1 lb. weight detonated not closer 
than 6 inches from the plate. 

(N.B. — It is proposed to cause the detonation 
of bombs away from the top of the tank by an 
outer skin of expanded metal, which is not on 
the sample machine shown.) 



Peooramme of Trials 
Reference to Sketchy Plan, and SecHane 
\ trial will be divided into three parts, 

I, II, and III 



Part I.— Official Test 

1. The machine will start and cross (a) the 
obstacle specified, ue. a parapet 4 feet 6 i 



APPENDIX VII 197 

high and a gap 5 feet wide. This forms the test 
laid down. ^ 

Part II. — Test approximating to Active 

Service 

S. It will then proceed over the level at full 
speed for about 100 yards, and take its place in 
a prepared dug-out shelter (6), from which it will 
traverse a course of obstacles approximating to 
those likely to be met with on service. 

8. Climbing over the British defences (c) (re- 
duced for its passage), it will — 

4. Pass through the wire entanglements in 
front; 

5. Cross two small shell craters, each 12 feet 
in diameter and 6 feet deep ; 

6. Traverse the soft, water-logged ground round 
the stream (d), climb the slope from the stream, 
pass through the German entanglement; 

7. Climb the German defences (e) ; 

8. Turn round on the flat and pass down the 
marshy bed of the stream via (d), and climb the 
double breastwork at (/). 

Part III. — Extra Test if required 

9. The '' tank " will then, if desired, cross the 
larger trench (A), and proceed for half a mile 
across the park to a piece of rotten groimd seamed 
with old trenches, going down a steep incline on 
the way. 

JoMmy mh, 1916. 



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